Started in 2001, a community school in a gang-heavy area provides free education and care for children from 4 months to 14 years old. It supports families earning less than 14,000 BRL annually, ensuring even those making less than $400 a month can enroll their children. The school relies on donations and partnerships for expenses like food, diapers, and teacher’s salaries. Despite the surrounding gang activity, the school remains a safe haven, protected by local gangs who respect the work being done. Initially challenging, this respect has grown steadily. Operating at full capacity with 130 children, the school offers half-day sessions with proper teacher-student ratios maintained. Donations also include clothes, food, shoes, and other essentials, providing comprehensive community support.

Children attend the school from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM, with some parents paying for the second half of the day. Teens volunteer on Saturdays to help with younger children. The school plans to expand by purchasing a neighboring building to accommodate more children. When I was in Haiti, my mother had to protect me from high levels of violence to receive an education, navigating a battlefield daily. Getting to and from school was incredibly hard. I relate to how gangs near Todo Mundo Feliz offer protection; respect alone can go far but can also be precarious.

In Haiti, my education journey was fraught with danger. My mother shielded me from chaos, making each day a test of resilience. Reflecting on my experiences, I see parallels with Todo Mundo Feliz, where children face significant challenges but receive protection from gangs out of respect for the school’s mission. This reliance on goodwill ensures safety but highlights precariousness. The efforts of Todo Mundo Feliz, like my mother’s determination, showcase extraordinary measures to secure education in hostile environments. Both stories underline that education is a beacon of hope and progress, often achieved through formidable adversities.

The story of this community school is a testament to resilience and collective support. Despite operating in a gang-heavy area, it provides children with a safe and nurturing environment, offering them a chance at education and a brighter future. The respect and protection from local gangs highlight the school’s positive impact on the community. Like my experiences in Haiti, this initiative underscores the importance of safe access to education in challenging environments. Through donations, partnerships, and efforts to expand, the school continues to be a beacon of hope, showing that even in the most challenging circumstances, a community can make a significant difference in children’s lives.


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