Mano Amiga Columbia, Brazil
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Mano Amiga Colombia

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.

Meet the Mano Amiga Students

Transform a child's life through education

Alejandro

Alejandro
My name is Alejandro. I´m 16 years old and a senior high school student at Mano Amiga Bello School. I live with my parents in a house very close to my school. I have an older brother studying to become a deacon at the Legionaries of Christ vocational center at Rio Negro.
Thanks to my mother, who works every day as a volunteer at the school canteen, I can access two meals, breakfast and lunch. She works very hard to have an income and makes gift boxes that she sells at crafts markets at Bello.
My father works as a welder, and he is the one who is responsible for the household and education expenses.
I like every space at Mano Amiga, and the school became my favorite place because I can share with schoolmates, talk with other people and forget, for a moment, the difficulties at home.
I´m grateful to my school because I have the opportunity to learn and explore my potential through didactic tools and activities, even though I have some learning problems. Teachers help me to overcome these problems and advance in my process.
I like the art class because I can express many feelings through art. I´m a person with difficulties communicating and controlling my emotions, so I constantly look to make activities to allow me to be calm.
I enjoy listening to music, watching movies, and playing basketball. I´m currently participating in virtual classes on pastry, I have already learned many recipes, and I hope I can be a great chef in the future.
Transform a child's life through education

Joseph

Joseph
My name is Joseph. I’m 15 years old and a high school student at Mano Amiga Bello School. I live with my mother and sometimes my older brother, who is 22 years old, comes with us.
My mother cares for our neighbors’ children in our house to have some income because she is responsible for all our household expenses. Even though she is a hard-working woman.
I love spending time with my friends and schoolmates at my school, and many sports and ludic activities make me happy.
During my free time, I like to play football, do exercise and read.
My dream is to become a medical examiner, to change my life and my mother’s life. I want to buy a house, so my mother will not worry about paying the rent. I want to offer us a different life and enjoy many things we have not had the opportunity to do.
My favorite subject is Chemistry, the teacher teaches exciting topics, and it becomes better when we do activities in the laboratory. I like the English class and find it very interesting, but sometimes it isn’t easy for me; soon, I expect to take additional courses.
I’m an autonomous and persevering adolescent; nevertheless, I usually look for spaces that help me control the anxiety caused by challenging situations around me
Transform a child's life through education

Juan Esteban

Juan Esteban
My name is Juan Esteban. I´m a seven years old student from 2nd grade from Mano Amiga Bello. I live with my parents in a neighborhood close to the school. My mother prepares fruit pulp daily and sells it to local corner shops, and my father works at a mechanical workshop. Every night he arrives late because he helps my mom with deliveries she can´t make.
I love to play with my friends and go to church in my free time. When I grow up, I will be a Minister to guide people to God because I´m a Christian boy, and I want everyone could meet God.
I want to be an architect too, and build a house for my mother, but a big one where she can be happy; that´s my dream.
Of Mano Amiga, I love the green spaces and all the plants we can find. I like math and natural sciences classes because we learn many good topics, like how to care for nature and animals. This year I´m learning addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
In Spanish class, my performance is not good. I like Spanish the subject the least because we must write and read extended books.
The person I love the most is my mother; she is very affectionate, helps me, and is the best mom in the entire world.
Transform a child's life through education

Sebastian

Sebastian
My name is Sebastian. I´m 13 years old and in eighth grade at Mano Amiga Bello school.
I live with my parents and my two sisters. My mother is very affectionate and is always caring for everyone at home. My father works as a salesman at a clothing manufacturing company and is a responsible man.
My biggest dream is to help my family and provide for them through sports; I participate in a soccer school at Mano Amiga facilities on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
My favorite subject is social science because I find history and ancient cultures exciting. The subject that I like the least is Biology because, for me, it is difficult to understand it.
At my school, I like the court and the way teachers make classes, and I particularly admire Mr. Walfran, the school principal, because he is educated and polite.
My grandmother is the person I love most because she always demonstrates love and affection.
Transform a child's life through education

Sofia

Sofia
My name is Sofía. I´m 7 years old, I´m at second grade at Mano Amiga Bello school. I live with my parents. My mother sells catalog products to help with our household expenses, but at the same time, she can take me to school and care for me. She is affectionate and cooks terrific; she prepares the best mushroom sauce.
My father is calm and patient and loves me very much. He works at a local supermarket where he peels potatoes and fruits and carries bags.
At Mano Amiga school I like green spaces very much because it calms me down, also I love to spend time with my schoolmates because it makes me happy.
During my free time, I like to practice writing in italics, listen to music and go out with my parents.
The best class and the one that I like most is English because I understand and already know how to spell many words in English.
My Spanish performance is not good because it is difficult for me to write in italics, but I´m doing my best to improve. My mother feels happy because the improved writing in italics allowed me to keep updated on my homework.
The only thing that makes me sad is to think that I´m not going to see my grandparent again because he died a couple of months ago.
My dream is to become a nurse to help people that need it.

Mano Amiga Colombia

Mano Amiga Bello

Students: 667
Founded: 1995
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

Students: 120
Founded: 2011
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.

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