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Meet the Santa Serafina Family, Zona 13, Guatemala

girls sitting eating with pink cups and plates

About the Santa Serafina Family

The Santa Serafina Family is a group of 43 girls in their first year of high school. The girls are cared for by their Mother-Sister, Sister Magdalena. The girls come from incredibly poor and desperate families and their education at the school is a source of hope for them and their families.

Sister Magdalena says that the girls love sport and extra curricular activities, especially basketball, soccer, hockey, and marching band. The return to classes in person has been a great joy for the girls, who missed it during the pandemic when the children had to move to online learning. As this is the first year they are away from their families, many girls are homesick and take some time to settle into new routine away from home. But the camaraderie the girls experience in their family helps to make them part of a community.

girls reading books with masks on

What your sponsorship will do for the Santa Serafina Family

When the children start school in Grade 7, they receive their school uniform, a bag, a pair of sports shoes and school shoes, set of colouring materials, some house clothes and sports uniform. They also receive books, board games, and other indoor game materials in their dormitories for leisure time. They have a general medical check-up to assess their medical and dental health needs. Your sponsorship of a family will contribute to these basic costs, making sure that each one has clothing, food, and books for their school.

Every day, the Santa Serafina Family eats breakfast, do their chores, attend classes and extra curricular activities, spend some time gardening with Sister Magdalena, eat dinner, and study together before going to sleep in their shared dormitory space. Their lives are communal and they do everything together, giving each other support and friendship as they progress through their schooling.

Meet some of the girls from Santa Serafina Family

Portrait photo of Meily in uniform
Meily, Sta Serafina family, Guatemala

Meet Meily

Meily, was born in 2005, in Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. She is the fourth of five children.

When she was five years old her mother began to teach her how to do the household chores so that she could help out at home whilst her mother worked. At the age of seven she was able to enter first grade at school but in the evenings she had to work to help her mother raise money by washing corn ready for grinding. To do the work she often had to carry the corn in big containers on her head. She was frequently embarrassed by the comments of people who talked about how her mother sent her to work. Then in late 2017, she met the Sisters and they offered her a place at school.

She entered Villa de las Niñas, Zona 13, Guatemala on the 5th January, 2018. It was not easy to adjust to being away from her family but she settled into her new school family, Santa Serafina, in the care of the Sisters and during the five years she has been at school she has thrived.

She says, “my hobbies are playing football, basketball, reading, drawing, running, and singing, what I like most is dancing and acquiring new knowledge. I love school.

One of her dreams is to graduate from college, start a business to give employment to people who need it, learn another language, help the poor by giving them support in whatever way she can.

She says, “I am really grateful for the opportunities that the Sisters of Mary have given me and also to my Santa Serafina family who have always been by my side to help me and give me their advice.”

girls sitting at desks with bags and books
Delmy (left)

Meet Delmy

Delmy was born in Jalapa, Guatemala and is the youngest of four children. It was a poor and chaotic upbringing and as a young child Delmy did not enjoy good health requiring regular medical support which her family could not afford.

Delmy was able to attend some early schooling and she loved her time at school but her family was too poor to afford further studies. Then, in 2017 Delmy met the Sisters of Mary.

With the kindness of our donors and friends we were able to fund a place at the school for Delmy and she joined the Sisters in the Santa Serafina family on the 9th January, 2018.   She is now well, growing strong and learning fast. She says “in my studies I have had new knowledge – with the help of the Sisters of Mary and the support of my Santa Serafina family they inspire me to move forward and fulfil my dreams and goals.”

Her favourite sport is football and she loves to practice it. She has also learned different types of crafts and sewing. She has made new friends and met girls from other states and with them she has learned to be loving, kind and understanding.

Meet the St Paul Family, Zona 6, Guatemala

group shot of boys in yellow sports kit

About the St Paul Family

The St Paul Family is a group of boys in Grade 7. The boys are cared for by their Mother-Sister, Sister Dora. The boys come from incredibly poor and desperate families, some with incredibly traumatic and difficult experiences. Their education at the school is a source of hope for them and their families.

Sister Dora cares for the wellbeing of the boys and the family do everything together. They eat all their meals, go to class, participate in sport and do extra curricular activates like gardening together. The boys love to play basketball and are happy and motivated to study and do well so that they may succeed when they leave school.

boys sttign with Sister Dora on grass

What your sponsorship will do for the St Paul Family

When the children start school in Grade 7, they receive their school uniform, a bag, a pair of sports shoes and school shoes, set of colouring materials, some house clothes and sports uniform. They also receive books, board games, and other indoor game materials in their dormitories for leisure time. They have a general medical check-up to assess their medical and dental health needs. Your sponsorship of a family will contribute to these basic costs, making sure that each one has clothing, food, and books for their school.

Every day, the St Paul Family eats breakfast, do their chores, attend classes and extra curricular activities, eat dinner, and study together before going to sleep in their shared dormitory space. Their lives are communal and they do everything together, giving each other support and friendship as they progress through their schooling.

boy standing on blue background

Meet Erick David

Erick David comes from the village of San Rafael municipality of San Miguel Chicaj, Department of Baja Verapaz, Guatemala.

His farming village has been deeply impacted by extreme weather events, due to climate change, over the last two years, especially draught which affected their crops. Often they had no water. Erick David frequently got up at 4 am to get to work cutting tomatoes in order to raise money to support his family. Work would finish at 4 pm. He says “it was quite tiring because the work day was very long, however, I tried to be able to comply with the established hours to be able to have money for my family”.

Although working full time Erick David was occasionally able to attend junior school until 2020 and the arrival of Covid-19. He says “when the pandemic began everything was suspended, for that reason teachers only sent us worksheets and in the end I didn’t learn anything”. The future looked very bleak indeed for Erick David until he met some of the contacts of the Sisters of Mary working in his community. They offered him a chance to meet the Sisters and learn about the school. He joined the Sisters at their school in Zona 6 Guatemala City in January 2021.

Safe at school in the care of Sr Dora in the St Paul family he says “I thank you for the great help in allowing me to study in Villa de los Niños in Guatemala so that I can graduate from school so as not to disappoint my family.”

boys standing outside with book and backpack

Meet Henry

Henry is from the village of San Nicolas, Guatemala. Whilst a young child, his mother and father ran a small shop from their home. They made a basic living helping to feed the family but it was a dangerous area and they lived in constant fear of the gangs operating in the community. When Henry was four years old his mother and father were shot and killed whilst working at home. Their tragic deaths deeply affected Henry and he and his sister went to live with his uncle and their other nine children.

It was a difficult and chaotic existence living with his uncle and the children were often hungry and neglected. Henry was determined not to give up his dream of a better life. In late 2020 Henry heard about the work of the Sisters and met some of their contact people in his community. In the midst of lock down he was offered a place at school and he joined in January 2021.

Catching up with schooling has been a challenge for Henry but he says that he works hard and “I try to improve every day because I like it, I have worked hard to get a good grades in my subjects and thus one day be able to finish my studies at both the basic level and high school, because if I don’t study I won’t find a better job opportunity.”

Now that he is 15 he is beginning to realise his goals. He says “my biggest dream is to graduate with a degree in Industrial Welding. As for my values, it has cost me a lot to be able to practice them because when I was in my community I didn’t practice them, but now I make an effort every day to achieve a change in myself. I also want to continue studying at university.”

Your donation will provide

£9 – Helps provide all the clothing, care, health and hygiene essentials for a child for a month

£21 –  Helps provide all the reference books, textbooks, notepads and pens for a child’s education for one month

£26 – Helps provide all the food needed by one child for a month

£84 – Helps provide absolutely everything needed to care for one child for a month*

Needs

The children of the Santa Serafina Family and the St Paul Family need educational materials as well as food for their every day meals. By Sponsoring a Family like the Santa Serafina and the St Paul Family, you will be providing these most basic needs and setting the children up for success in their schooling, giving them clothing, shoes, books, and food to help support them through their academic studies.

Education

Pens, Notebooks, Textbooks, Bags

Clothing and care

Shoes, school uniforms, sports kit, personal hygiene supplies and medical and dental care

Food

Three balanced meals a day, nutritional supplements

*these costs are based on the average across all our schools