As summer comes to an end, the time has come for children to go back to school. There they will learn what they need to know to move forward and be prepared for life.
However, in developing countries like Panama there are serious obstacles facing many children and their families. The country has a public school system, but many children—especially those from indigenous families—live in such harsh conditions that formal learning is a real struggle for them…but, Sister Nena Heramil, MM, is there to help!
Sister Nena has helped to start a program for at-risk children to reinforce and supplement the learning they receive in school. “In this community, some parents really don’t have the capacity to help their children in their homework, for their school assignments, because they themselves don’t know how to read or write,” she tells us. “This community mostly is indigenous; they came from the provinces and migrated to the city. Their area is near the dump area. So they are squatters, and the place doesn’t even have safe water for drinking. But there are many families there.”
The program currently has 32 children enrolled. They are screened beforehand to determine what their areas of greatest educational need are, so that the teachers can focus on bringing them up to where they need to be in their studies.
“We not only give reinforcement for their classes in school, but we can also provide food and other needs,” Sister Nena says. “So, if they are sick, we can get them help. Some of them have skin diseases because they live near the garbage dumping area.”
Sister informs us that because Panama has a lower cost of living than the United States, even a modest gift can stretch a long way in helping these children and their families:
$25 will pay a teacher’s salary for a day
$40 will cover school supplies for one student for the entire school year
$50 can buy a full meal for all 32 children
This is an opportunity to make a truly heroic difference in the lives of children who only need a small push to use education as a vehicle to escape from lives of poverty. If you didn’t think you had the means to make a real, impactful difference—here is the opportunity!
On behalf of Sister Nena and Maryknoll Sisters around the globe, we thank you for considering a gift in support of Sister Nena and many others.