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Success Stories & New Beginnings: How you can be part of the Mano Amiga legacy today!

October 5, 2018

In 1974, Fr. James McKenna, LC, was assigned to a brand new Catholic elementary school in Monterrey, Mexico called Mano Amiga. Fr. James served there for several years, first as the school’s chaplain and later as the principal.

When Mano Amiga first came to the area, Fr. James tells us, “Most of the people lived without electricity or running water. Their lives were full of misery and poverty: foul-smelling, contaminated water, shacks made of cardboard, unpaved streets, and barely-clothed children running through the neighborhoods.”

One of those children was Antonio Heredia.

And going to Mano Amiga changed the course of Antonio’s life.

Antonio was reunited with his former principal 30 years later when Fr. James had open-heart surgery after experiencing chest pains. During a post-op check-up, Fr. James’s surgeon brought with him another doctor Fr. James had never met before. 

1 in 5 people in Latin America and the Philippines lives in poverty.“Are you Fr. James McKenna?” the new doctor asked.

“I am,” Fr. James replied.

“You were my principal when I was a student at Mano Amiga! My name is Dr. Antonio Heredia!”

Today, Antonio is a renowned cardiologist in Monterrey! Not only did Mano Amiga give Antonio the quality education he would need to alter the course of his life forever, but that education saved his former principal’s life and the lives of countless other patients.

This is the kind of legacy Mano Amiga schools work to build every day. Mano Amiga campuses throughout Latin America and the Philippines come to communities where help is truly needed. Poverty is rampant. Opportunities are few and far between. Families are desperate for a better life.Give now to help Mano Amiga build legacies of success and beating the odds for decades to come.

The stats speak for themselves:

  • In Latin America, 74 million people live on less than $2 per day. Over half of them are children.
  • In the Philippines, the World Bank released a 2017 study that shows that 22 million people live below the poverty line.
  • A 2010 study found that globally, 171 million people would be able to escape poverty if they only had basic reading skills.

The evidence is clear: when a child has access to a quality education, they will have access to good jobs, and will escape poverty. You can help children re-write their futures and escape poverty when you make it possible for them to go to school at Mano Amiga today.

With access to a good education, millions of children will be able to get good jobs and escape poverty.

Jazmin, 4, has the chance at a better life thanks to caring friends like you who are sponsoring her education at Mano Amiga MarichesJazmín, 4, is a student at Mano Amiga Mariches in Venezuela. When she grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian. Jazmín is a happy, playful, respectful little girl. Even though she’s only in her first year of school, Mano Amiga has already changed her life.

Jazmín lives with her mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The entire family survives on the wages earned by one uncle who works as a cab driver. Without the help of caring friends like you, there’s no way Jazmín’s family could afford tuition.

And a Mano Amiga education is more than just classes! Mano Amiga gives every student:



  • A free daily meal
  • Family support including career training and faith formation for parents and guardians (some Mano Amiga campuses are even able to employ parents for certain jobs!)
  • A solid Catholic foundation for life – most importantly, the knowledge that they are beloved children of God and an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist

90% of Mano Amiga students graduate from high school, compared to much smaller percentages in the countries in which Mano Amiga serves.Not only do Mano Amiga schools meet the daily needs of their students and families, but they are building an incredible legacy. Students who go to a Mano Amiga school are more likely to graduate high school, no matter which country they live in, than many of their peers! Mano Amiga is making a difference for its students everywhere!

Brahian, 7, was able to stay in school after his father abandoned their family thanks to your generosity during last year's Mano Amiga Annual Fund Drive, which sponsored Brahian's tuition for another year!Brahian, 7, attends Mano Amiga Bello in Colombia. Brahian’s dad left the family last year. With no income, Brahian and his mom were forced to move in with his grandparents. The entire family survives solely on Brahian’s grandfather’s pension.

Because of Mano Amiga and caring friends like you, Brahian has been able to stay in school!

But without your help, and the chance at a better life you’re giving him, we don’t even want to think about the difficulties Brahian would have to face.


And there are hundreds more children who are waiting to go to school at a Mano Amiga campus around the world, but they need your help to get there! Children like:

Jeovanny, 7, a student at Mano Amiga El Salvador, wants to be a teacher when he grows up!

Jeovanny, 7, from El Salvador. He wants to be a teacher when he grows up.Jessica, 4, from Guatemala already knows she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, just like Dr. Heredia!


Jessica, 4, from Guatemala. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up (just like Dr. Heredia).



Mildrene, 8, from the Philippines. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up because she wants to “teach children to read and write.” 

Andy, 11, from Mexico, wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up.

Mildrene, 8, from the Philippines wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and her dreams are coming true thanks to your sponsorship of her tuition at Mano Amiga Philippines! Andy, 11, from Mexico, dreams of being a veterinarian when he grows up!

You can help Mano Amiga schools pave the way for the dreams of thousands of young children and their families. But success stories, like Dr. Heredia, and stories of new beginnings, like Jazmín and Brahian, are impossible without the prayers and generosity of friends like you.

Please, stop what you’re doing right now and say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for Jazmín, Brahian, and the many children like them.

Then take a minute to consider how you can help:Give how to help students all over the world write a happy future for themselves!

  • $800 gives a Mano Amiga student a scholarship for a whole school year
  • $400 covers a deserving student’s tuition for a semester
  • $67 pays for tuition for one month
  • $34 pays for tuition for two weeks

A recurring monthly gift of $134 would allow you to send TWO deserving children to school for a whole year!

95% of Mano Amiga students rely on scholarships.95% of Mano Amiga students rely on scholarships! Their families sacrifice and save all they can to make sure their children go to school, but the truth is that without your help and generosity, it is simply not enough. Without you, these precious students have nowhere to go for a quality, life-changing education.

These students have big potential, and a Mano Amiga education will be the key that unlocks their potential for years to come.

Your gift today will bear immediate and long-lasting fruit in the lives of many children. And who knows, maybe a scholarship you provide will go to a student who follows in Dr. Heredia’s footsteps!



2018 Sees Important Milestone for 3 Mano Amiga Campuses in Mexico

2018 saw an incredible milestone: Mano Amiga Puebla, Mano Amiga Guadalajara, and Mano Amiga Torreón graduated their first-ever classes of high school seniors! Many of these graduates have attended Mano Amiga since Kindergarten. This is truly an impressive milestone for the grads, their families, their campuses, and YOU! Thanks to your unwavering support, these amazing young people have bright futures ahead of them. 

Join us in giving the class of 2018 a great big "CONGRATULATIONS!"

Give now to help more children graduate high school!

Give now to help more children graduate high school with a Mano Amiga education.

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