Good news! I’ve been telling you the story of the 2 little girls with the missing birth certificates. In Mexico, children need birth certificates to go to school. Unfortunately, getting one is not free, so often the poorest moms just don’t get it done. Which means the children who need education the most, may not be able to access it. It is frustrating and Veronica, the director at Manos de Amor has spent too many hours to count over the years chasing moms for papers. If mom won’t cooperate, her children can’t go to school. That has been the story for 7-year-old Britany for the past 18 months. She has been shuffled back and forth between Mom, Grandma, and Manos de Amor and has never been able to attend a school. She has watched her friends go to school each morning while she is left behind. Although Manos de Amor has offered to pay for the birth certificate and do all the legwork, Mom has simply refused to cooperate, and she is the only one who can make the application with a photo and signature.
On Monday, Mom came to Manos de Amor to tell us where her new home is, and Veronica insisted she go with her to get her photo taken. At first, she refused…. again…. but after borrowing some makeup from one of the staff members she agreed to go. By Tuesday Veronica had the papers filled out and signed and many copies made. It will still be a while before she gets the actual birth certificate – papers must be filed at 4 different offices around the state. But having the papers filled out was enough for the school to agree to allow Britani to attend – under 2 conditions:
- It is only approved for two months. If no papers are produced within 2 months, no more school for Britani.
- She had to bring her own chair. What? Nope, the school did not have an extra chair for Britani, she would have to bring her own. So Veronica took a little wooden chair from the Manos de Amor dining room, outfitted it with a desktop and voila…. she had a desk.
From the dining room to a classroom
By Wednesday, Britani was in school in her spiffy new uniform and polished black shoes, and when we picked her and her sister up in the golf cart after school she was happy beyond measure. She is a year behind others her age, 2 months behind those in her class – but she is in school and she is excited.
More than anything, we hope that this will be a turning point for this family. That Mom will step up and recognize how amazing her children are. Will be there Friday afternoon to take her daughters home from school like all the other mothers who crowd around the school doors. And if that doesn’t happen, our guest rooms are ready. But for this week we celebrate that finally Britani is in school!