The Opportunity that Changed Our Lives

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Pablo* began attending preschool at NPH four years ago, his first school experience. Pablo is now in second grade and he is very happy with the opportunity that changed his life.

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Marisela lives with her family of five in a small brick house with dirt floors. Her house is in a vulnerable community right on the road that connects the NPH El Salvador facility with the highway. Marisela lives there with her boyfriend, her small two boys, and her boyfriend’s little girl.

Eight-year-old Pablo* is Marisela’s oldest son. He is in second grade at the NPH El Salvador school. Pablo started his studies at the NPH Child Daycare Center (CBI) when he was four years old. Marisela remembers the first time she took Pablo to school, “He was very happy the first day he went to classes at NPH. Pablo smiled as he waved goodbye to me. I felt moved because I knew this opportunity was great for him.”

Marisela was not wrong. That first day, Pablo came back home excited and told his mother about how much he had enjoyed his classes. Pablo adapted well to CBI classes, completing kindergarten in 2019. The family was very proud of him.

Marisela was raising her two boys by herself, with lots of difficulties. In 2017, a unique opportunity came to her family’s life when NPH El Salvador started the CBI community program. Marisela knew that this opportunity was going to change little Pablo’s life. “At that moment, my boy didn’t have the opportunity to study. Pablo was 4 years old and the public school near our house does not offer classes for preschoolers.”

In El Salvador, many children in rural areas under age 6 do not receive early childhood development at a school. According to the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, around 400 thousand Salvadoran children under 6 years old did not attend preschool in 2020.** An early education is crucial to a young child’s mental growth and the lack of one impacts the nation. According to UNICEF, “failure to provide quality early childhood education limits children’s futures by denying them opportunities to reach their full potential. It also limits the futures of countries, robbing them of the human capital needed to reduce inequalities and promote peaceful, prosperous societies.” ***

A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development. Preschool classes provide a strong base on which a child can begin to build lifelong learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. Thanks to the CBI program at NPH, Marisela’s children had access to a preschool education which has set the basis for her children’s learning.

Currently, Anderson*, Pablo’s five-year-old little brother, and his step-sister Ericka* (3 years old) both study at CBI. They are very happy to attend NPH, enjoying the activities with their friends and teachers. “My favorite food is spaghetti and I also love to draw,” says Anderson. Little Ericka explains that “Beans with fried plantain are my favorites. It’s so much fun to play with my friends.”

As the three siblings get older, Marisela is pleased to see how much they have benefited from their time at the NPH Community Programs. She concludes, “I know this opportunity changed our lives for the best. My kids now receive an education, good meals, and things that we are not able to give them. If we didn’t have this opportunity, my kids would be staying at home. The little ones would not be studying because the community school does not offer classes until the first grade. They wouldn’t have all the benefits they receive at NPH. I would like to thank everyone who make it possible for my kids, and all the children of this community, to have this unique opportunity.”

By supporting our programs, you will help us to continue providing quality education to the girls, boys, and youth from vulnerable communities so that families like Pablo, Anderson, and Ericka can continue to build their dreams.

*Names changed for privacy reasons
**Indicadores Población fuera del sistema educativo.xlsx ( (Ministerio de Educación, Ciencia y Tecnología)
***Early childhood education | UNICEF