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MANOS Program Brings Hope and Healing
The MANOS program in Mano Amiga (Helping Hands) schools is helping underprivileged children succeed in school by providing for a basic physical need: health care.

altius medical care
Providing preventative health care for the poor children in Mano Amiga schools so that they will have better chances for academic success.

Mexico, February 27, 2009 (Altius Foundation). Her name is Laura. She is 7 years old and is in 2nd grade. Like any girl of her age, she has dreams that she wants to fulfill, and thousands of desires in her heart. Today, her biggest problem is finding the energy to follow all those dreams. At her tender age, she has a serious malnutrition problem that makes it hard for her to study and do well in school.

Unfortunately, Laura is not the only child with this problem. In Mano Amiga schools, designed to provide underprivileged children with a high-quality education, there are many cases like Laura’s. Many children are not able to make it to school every day because of serious stomach ailments or the flu, so they lose opportunities to learn and keep up with the rest of the class. Sadly, this situation could be avoided, but preventative medicine is a luxury that many people cannot afford.

That is why the Altius Foundation has created “MANOS,” which stands for Mejoramiento Académico de los Niños Optimizando su Salud (Academic Improvement for Children by Optimizing their Health). This program is designed to provide preventative health care for the poor children in Mano Amiga schools so that they will have better chances for academic success.

Through regular check-ups and analysis of each child’s health, the MANOS staff is able to pinpoint and address specific needs in five key areas:
• Nutrition
• Stomach and respiratory illnesses
• Vision
• Oral health
• Vaccination

By taking care of these five essential points, and by zeroing in on the specific areas in which each child needs special care, the MANOS team is making it possible for kids to do much better in school. The program will decrease absenteeism and dropouts, and will result in improved quality of life for the children and their families. 

“It’s not just about improving their physical health,” says Carlos Otero. “It’s also about helping each child to be happy, to feel better, and for that to be reflected in their studies.”

The MANOS project will definitely be a big challenge for the Altius Foundation team. The project will start at the Aguascalientes school, which has 600 children. With the help of benefactors, the project’s second stage will reach 7,000 children. In its third stage, the project will reach 100% of the children who are studying in Mano Amiga schools. According to Altius’ statistics, there are currently 17,000 children enrolled in 30 Mano Amiga schools in 8 countries. 

Mano Amiga has proven to be a wise investment for the future and an effective way to break the cycle of poverty in Latin American countries. Over 90% of Mano Amiga students complete their high school education, and over 93% go on to university or technical school and pursue a career. Little by little, the Mano Amiga program, now enriched by the MANOS initiative, is transforming lives and helping children find a brighter future.

US residents who are interested in supporting the MANOS program are invited to visit the Catholic World Mission web site (



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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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