Colombia has population of 46 million people. 27.8% of those people live under the poverty line in dire situations. Although the country has roots in Catholicism it is not the prevailing ideology of the country. The government is doing everything in its power to increase security and stop drug trafficking and gang violence. Poor cities still suffer under this oppression though. Providing an education to a poor child in an impoverished area like the two Mano Amiga schools in Colombia helps change the ideology of the communities and helps children choose career paths other than corruption and violence.
Mano Amiga Colombia
Mano Amiga Bello
Location: Medellín, Colombia
Medellín, Colombia has a dark history of gang violence. The repercussions of this violence are still felt today, but Mano Amiga Bello is a beacon of hope in the midst of great difficulty.
Mano Amiga Bello opened in 1995, during the height of gang violence. In the beginning, there were just 30 students who attended class in a small home. Soon, teachers, students, parents, and neighbors started to help. They began building “their school” to counteract the indifference and destruction that was created by the violence in Bello.
Today, Mano Amiga Bello is a major educational institution in the area. It serves 600 low-income students, giving hope to impoverished families who can’t afford school otherwise.
Mano Amiga Zipaquirá
Location: Zipaquirá, Colombia
Mano Amiga Zipaquirá is located in a rural area in the outskirts of Bogota. Their first classroom had only 20 students but they hope to one day to have 900 students attend the school.
Today, Mano Amiga Zipaquirá is growing at a rapid rate. Out of nearly 11,000 residents, only 3,000 or so have some level of education. Visit the Updates tab to learn more about new efforts to support Mano Amiga Zipaquirá’s growth.
The Mano Amiga Difference
- To provide underprivileged children with a quality education and values
- Generate in the population in need for improvement, based on a solid and comprehensive formation, guided by Catholic values
- Reaching out to the families involved
- Provide educational support from preschool through technical education
- Participation of companies in the process, promoting solidarity and sense of social responsibility
Meet Our Students:
Fourth-grade student, Isabella, radiates joy everywhere she goes on the Bello campus. Every day she goes to the main office at the school to greet the staff with big smiles and hugs; she is truly grateful to be at this school. Isabella lives with her father, Faber, since her mother cannot care for nor support her. Mano Amiga is one of her favorite places in the world, and she and Faber are grateful that she has a safe and stable place to learn and grow.
My name is Susana and I am 10 years old, and studying fourth grade at Mano Amiga School in Bello, Colombia. I live in a foster home and feel very fortunate because my new family has embraced me with love and I feel now this is my real family. I now have two sisters, a mom, dad and aunts. I study at Mano Amiga School in Bello, Colombia since first grade.
I love my school because I have nice friends and my teachers are looking always after me so I can do well in my work and in my relationship with my friends. I love to read stories and my favorite time is when I go the library to do “story teller time”.
I am very grateful to my school, teachers, my new family and to the donors that help with my studying, because when I grow up I just want to be a teacher and help other kids.
My name is Juan David, I am 9 years old and studying fourth grade. I like to study and every day when I return from my school I eat, clean myself and start doing my homework right away, so I can play a little before it is dark. I live with my grandparents, my mother and my aunt. In the weekends I go with my grandfather to sell “empanadas” in front of our house to help with the maintenance of the house, because my mother does not work at the moment because she is receiving a medical treatment that makes her very weak. My grandmother is who helps me with my food, and takes me to school.
I am very grateful to study at Mano Amiga and with all the donors that make possible for me to receive this education. In the future I would like to be a farmer because it is important to work the land and grow vegetables and fruits.
Spring 2019 – Mano Amiga Zipaquirá
Deacon Eric Gilhooly, LC, will soon be ordained to the priesthood! To celebrate this occasion, instead of gifts, Deacon Eric is raising funds to help Mano Amiga Zipaquirá build an additional classroom.
Click here to give now. Celebrate Deacon Eric’s vocation and make a long-term impact for the children of Colombia!
Back to School Campaign provides new desks for students!
A big thank you to all of you who gave to our Back to School campaign this year. You provided new desks for the little ones at Mano Amiga Bello! Check out the cute pictures in the image carousel below.
In Colombia, one out of four parents and caregivers of Mano Amiga students at the Bello location have lost their jobs. The situation is even worse at the Zipaquira school. Rural areas in Colombia are historically affected by high unemployment and scarce opportunities. Both campuses have been hit-hard by job losses, food shortages, suspension of agricultural production, and limited access to vital medical services.
You can help the students of Mano Amiga Colombia reach their full potential when you give now. From structural repairs like broken AC units, to classroom basics like desks and school supplies, and even scholarships to help families cover tuition, you can make a huge difference!
Click the green “Give Now” button to donate now and make an impact today!
Help a Child Today!
Learn More About Catholic Education & Mano Amiga Schools
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