After spending two weeks visiting our affiliated projects in Colombia and Peru, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and I were scheduled to visit with our last school before returning home — the Villa School outside of Lima, Peru.

Located in the Villa El Salvador slum district in the outskirts of the capital, the Villa School is a “Fe y Alegría” school. Fe y Alegría schools are a federation of local organizations which offer educational opportunities to the poorest sectors of society.

About Fe y Alegría

Students wear matching school outfits with the name of the school and the neighborhood.

Founded in 1955 by the Society of Jesus in Venezuela as a movement to promote comprehensive education and social development, there are currently Fe y Alegría schools in 19 countries around the world. Fe y Alegría schools work to strengthen education for marginalized populations through specific methods:

-Teacher Training: Ongoing training provided for teachers and school directors, including in computer technology.

-Technical Education: Fe y Alegría schools provide students with technical training that prepares them for the workforce, with the aim of promoting sustainable development.

-Higher Technological Education: Training is also provided to prepare children for technical careers that respond to the needs of the local/regional economy in which the institutes are located.

-Rural Education: Fe y Alegría schools provide capacity building in rural areas of Peru, working to develop educational materials suitable to the needs of the local region.

-Basic Alternative Education for Adults: The schools offer adults who were unable to complete their school studies the opportunity to pursue elementary and high school-level studies.

-Inclusive Education: Fe y Alegría seeks to promote the participation and integration of children with disabilities in the education system. It does so through teacher training and the development of learning materials catered to the specific needs of disabled students.

Currently, Fe y Alegría is running 79 high schools, 161 schools in 6 rural areas, 268 technical schools and workshops, 7 institutes of higher technology, and 20 centers of technical and production education.

Many spoke of how important sponsorship was to them and how sponsors helped not only the children, but the entire family.

The Villa School

When we arrived at the Villa School, we met with our volunteer coordinator, Ines, who had a special presentation prepared for us. We gathered with a few dozen of our sponsored children and their mothers in a large room where chairs had been set up in a circle.

Luis and I sat, and a group of older children performed a traditional Peruvian dance for us. When the dance was over, mothers and students expressed to us sentiments about their sponsors.

Many spoke of how important sponsorship was to them and how sponsors helped not only the children, but the entire family.

A few of the mothers became emotional as they spoke, mentioning how grateful they were to know there were people in the world willing to help their children get through school so they could have the chance at a better life away from slum neighborhoods in Lima.

Happy children all around

Afterward, Luis and I took a tour of the large school, where multiple basketball courts and soccer fields were surrounded by classrooms, carpentry workshops, and buildings with spaces for dancing, music classes and other recreational activities.

As we made our way around the rectangular path of the school with Ines, hundreds of smiling students dressed in matching Fe y Alegría School uniforms walked, ran and skipped past us gleefully. It was apparent that they were enjoying their time with their friends and teachers. I could tell this was, indeed, a place of faith and joy for all the children at this special Fe y Alegría school.


How do I sponsor a child in Peru?  

You can sponsor a child in Peru in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Peru that is available for sponsorship.



Education, Stories of Hope, Peru

written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

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