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Mano Amiga Opens Kindergarten for Poor Children in the Philippines
The school will provide a quality education for the children from Manila’s poorest districts, helping them and their families to break the cycle of poverty.

Underprivileged children at the new Mano Amiga school in Manila.
Underprivileged children at the new Mano Amiga school in Manila.

October 28, 2008. Manila, Philippines. Lovely Villar, 4, lives in Western Bicutan, in a district with more than 5,000 informal settlers who live in shanties and live on a monthly salary that is next to nothing by Western standards. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Lovely smiled brightly and said, “a doctor, or a doctor AND a teacher.”

For many of those living in the impoverished area, this idea may seem far-fetched; but Lovely’s parents are confident that her scholarship in Mano Amiga Academy has helped make this dream within her reach.

Mano Amiga Academy finally opened its doors last September 22 to two sections of kindergarten students in Taguig City. The school plans to expand by one grade level per year.

The 60 Filipino scholars were chosen from poor communities surrounding the Habitat for Humanity Housing at the FTI complex where the school is temporarily holding classes. The project is being actively supported by the Taguig
Over 90% of Mano Amiga students complete high school and go on to university or technical school.
Over 90% of Mano Amiga students complete high school and go on to university or technical school.
City government who has provided the organization with a 5,000-square meter lot where a permanent campus will be erected.

Mano Amiga Academy is run by Altius Foundation, an international NGO founded by the Legionaries of Christ. Altius provides education, health, and development services in over thirteen countries. The international curriculum is always complemented by a formation program that targets the whole family, school staff, and the surrounding community.

Mano Amiga schools are known for producing alumni who are outstanding academic achievers with national scores on par with the best schools of their country. Over 90% of the students complete their high school education and go on to university or technical school. The students are also formed to become socially responsible citizens, capable of seeing and responding to the needs of others.

Altius Foundation President Rene Lankenau attributed the success to Mano Amiga´s approach, which demands that families not only contribute financially towards their children´s education – usually P100-P200 for Filipinos – but that parents also participate in personal and economic development programs sponsored by the schools.

“The Mano Amiga model is not just a school, but a system for radically transforming
Logotipo Mano Amiga
Helping Hand (Mano Amiga)
the life of a family in poverty,” he said. Truly, with the help of Mano Amiga Academy, Lovely’s dreams do not seem impossible anymore.

Mano Amiga’s goal is to provide education and development services tailored to the needs of the Filipino community that will empower each family to transform their lives and break the cycle of poverty. Mano Amiga Academy, Taguig City is the latest addition to over 30 Mano Amiga schools in 7 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Venezuela), with more than 17,000 students and parents receiving formation. To learn more about Mano Amiga schools and what they do for poor children around the world, click here.

Donors who are interested in helping with these projects are invited to visit the Catholic World Mission web site for more information.



Related links

Altius Foundation
Immaculate Conception Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Anáhuac Network of Universities
Canyon Heights Academy
Clear Water Academy
Dublin Oak Academy

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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