Ana Abigail is a second-year student at our Girlstown in Guatemala.  In her fifteen years, she has experienced many difficulties.  Her father died before she was born and her and her mother lived with her grandparents and other extended family.  When she was seven years old, her paternal grandfather, whom she had come to view as a father, passed away.  The following year, her mother remarried and Ana Abigail returned home one day to find that her mother and her new husband had left, without any warning or saying goodbye.  Ana Abigail was shocked and frightened to be separated from her mother for the first time in her life.  Her cousins who also lived with her grandparents began pressuring her to leave, insisting that since her mother no longer lived there Ana Abigail didn’t belong at the house.

Ana Abigail always loved school and worked hard to do well.  Her grandparents had no money to pay for her schooling, so she was glad that she was able to enroll in a free secondary school after finishing sixth grade.  However, many of the students there used drugs and drank alcohol and Ana Abigail’s grandparents wouldn’t let her continue going to that school.

Then she learned of the Sisters of Mary’s schools, and even though the application period had ended, she was able take the entrance examination and was accepted into the Girlstown.  Ana Abigail arrived at the school last January, and is so grateful for the education and care she is receiving.  She says of her short time living with the sisters and other students:

“Here I have acquired and I continue to absorb a lot of knowledge that is forming me to be a good person for my fellow human beings. Wherever I go, I want to be that example not of words but with my way of being, carrying the name of this one school “Villa de los Niños” Sisters of Mary Girlstown, to whom I direct my gratitude, as well as to the benefactors who contribute to the existence of this great work.”

This child’s life has been full of suffering and hardship.  But through this she has remained positive and determined.  There are so many children living in poverty around the world with their own stories of adversity.  So many children who just need to be given a chance.

Please support of the Sisters of Mary’s work caring for and educating more than 20,000 children living in extreme poverty. Your gift gives children like Ana Abigail the chance to acquire the knowledge and skills to provide for their families and to work for a better future for themselves and for others. Without your generosity, we would not be able to carry out our mission of empowering children to break free from lives of poverty.