Students wearing masks at their desks in class reading
Teaching has continued during the pandemic


From the UK it is very easy to overlook the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the very poorest communities in the world.

In our countries of operation, the Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and Tanzania, vital food supplies for the children in our care like rice, flour, beans – the mainstay of their diet – have been interrupted and prices have soared. In some countries (like Mexico) prices have tripled.

With the help of our supporters, the Sisters of Mary have responded to the crisis and kept the children in school, safe and learning throughout. With teachers and staff now offsite, the children work hard and many lessons are held remotely.

The Sisters continue their constant care and they welcome new boys and girls where they can, all the while observing the wider impact of the pandemic on the most fragile local communities. They witness levels of poverty not previously seen; the very poorest people are bearing the brunt of the Covid crisis.

Students in front of PC's being taught remotely via a teacher on a projected screen
Remote teaching is a key part of continuing education

These are the families, friends and neighbours of the children at our schools. People, both rural and urban, with little or no education and few skills. Some may have travelled from the rural regions to the cities to find work. They were feeding their families with income from insecure and menial jobs. The pandemic has meant that these jobs have quickly disappeared as businesses and restaurants were forced to close down and supply chains dried up.

With few skills and little access to infrastructure like electricity and the internet, poor families are less likely to be able to work remotely. It is harder for them to adjust and to secure remote study opportunities to progress themselves and their children. Survival is their daily challenge.

For the children of these most vulnerable families, normal was never good enough to begin with and the worst economic effects of the pandemic may now face these children further into the future.


Nicola Lawson

UK Manager & Trustee