She started middle school at Guatemala City Girlstown two years ago.

Before arriving at Girlstown, Carmen lived with her parents, brothers, and grandparents in a small house made of clay and straw. They do not own the land it is built on and do not know how long they will be able to live there. Their house is far from town and Carmen would walk a long way to reach her school, crossing a river along the way. During the rainy season she was unable go to school because of the river flooding. Her father is a farmer, however there was never enough money to purchase her school supplies.

In this picture, Carmen is wearing a dress her mother made for her as she started her new journey at Girlstown. “I am so excited since this is a unique opportunity for me to study and someday I could help my family”.

Children living in rural areas in Guatemala are both more likely to experience extreme poverty and more likely to attend schools without adequate teaching materials. Furthermore, many of these rural children living below the poverty line are forced to drop out of school to support their families. Dropout rates are high, particularly for girls. Girls with limited schooling are more likely to experience early marriage, frequent childbearing, and chronic poverty. The Sisters of Mary reduce the pressure of schooling costs for families by providing students with all the supplies, clothing, and food they need.

A gift of $50 is enough to purchase school supplies for a student in Guatemala for a year.

Incoming students receive school supplies, clothes, and shoes on their first day of school