In Tacna Peru children often need to work to support their families, so it is a big financial sacrifice for families when children attend school. But, Fe & Allegria (Faith and Joy) school, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, destitute parents know that their children are learning valuable skills, not only academics but skills in agriculture, computer, carpentry, electronics, sewing- industrial/factory clothing industry. They graduate with a profession.
In the slums of Tacna, a city of 400,000, one thousand youth attend Fe & Allegria. Many students are from single parent families where the mothers work from little carts selling fruits and vegetable earning $7-10 a day. These children face many emotional challenges from lack of food security, domestic violence and gang violence, among others.
“Home situations are awful among our students. Alcoholism is rampant, kids are sent out to work. Everyone is just trying to survive. One mother was beaten to death by her boyfriend. Child abuse and domestic violence are common. Many single moms who work overnight have no options but to leave their kids alone. Recently, we have added two-part time psychologists who accompany the children and high schoolers. With their help, the students are much more tranquil and have increase academic achievement.” Sr. Sally Harper
Our Goal is to increase the two psychologists’ involvement from part time to full time. This will increase home visiting, and provide more group and individual sessions. Teachers know the kids and are convinced that this will greatly assist the children and youth facing the greatest challenges.
This year the school celebrates its 30th anniversary, and is using the theme, “The year of the pearl that transforms a grain of sand into a beautiful gem.” In addition to the counseling for students and families and support for faculty, our team of psychologist is planning ways to focus on the process of transformation–how to help the students, both grade and high school, to bring about real change in their lives, in their heads and their hearts so that they may live happier and healthier lives.
Funds Are Needed
$10,000 a year will pay the salary for a full-time psychologist to work at the school. Our hope is to fund two full time positions.