We love all children,  Serendipity Children are  Harrijan.


Our principal work involves contacting children who are not in school. Persuading them to give up whatever they are doing, if anything; if we will get them into school. When we have the children's agreement we then make contact with their parents [ normally there is only a mother, and not uncommonly the child lives on the street.]. With the child and mother's consent; we begin to educate the child in our own informal school. It is staffed by a teacher and a teaching assistant, and is visited regularly by a social worker and a Psychologist. What we accomplish with roughly 80 percent of the children we recruit: is to catch them up to the education level they would have achieved had they been attending school for however many years they have missed.The 20 % we are unable to bring up to the level which will permit them to pass the entrance examine to enter the National School system at the grade their age pertains to: will remain with us until we either succeed in bringing their learning skills up to their ad/grade; or else until they have been with us for two years. At which time we give them an informal certificate indicating the reading, writing, maths and language skill level they have attained.
The majority of our schools are located in the most dangerous barrios of the cities we are in. We have learned that if we work only in the mornings, end the session with a nutritious snack for the children (usually a sandwich, a high protean drink and a piece of fruit); then we return to the city centre. This is possible because the people who are dangerous normally stay up late and sleep during the morning.

It costs 250 Euros for us to put a child into school after only one term with us [note: most children require at least 2 terms]:.
This includes:
- 195 nutritious snacks/meals,
- One teacher and one teaching assistant for up to 25 children.
- Part time of an social worker and Psychologist. - Staff transportation.
- More or less one change of clothes (a shirt, trousers and shoes if they have none or
when theirs wear out).
- One new school uniform
- School registration fees
- 1 School starter kit.

Once children are registered in school we visit them, under the banner of a "Serendipity Club Meeting", once every 4 to 6 weeks. With the school's permission we have a celebration type gathering where a clown or musician is usually present. Educational games are played, giving the children an opportunity to show off what they have learned. There are prizes for attendance, the highest notes and the best behavior. The social worker will already have met with the teachers of our children; and will work the group throughout the gathering, discussing the needs of each child; making appointments to visit the child at home when the parent is present. And we give the children lots of affection during these events. Because most of our children live in harsh, unattended and frequently violent environments. The love they received from us while they were in our little schools is not repeated when they go to State school, and so they would feel abandoned by us were we not to come visit them on a regular basis. Clothes are passed out at club meetings and the event ends with a small meal. We remain responsible for each of our children's education, and to some extent their medical condition; for two years after we have gotten them into school. During this time we will work with their parents or whoever is responsible for a particular child: to get that person or people to share the financial responsibility for the child's education. We find that getting the parent to sacrifice for the child's education is important later on; after we are no longer responsible. Eighty five percent of the children we get into school are still there after two years. During this time it costs us 40 Euros per child to keep supporting and encouraging them to succeed in getting educated. This covers: -10 meals - Transport to the Club Meetings - The part time services of a teacher, social worker and Psychologist. plus one or two teaching assistants - There will be some clothes and two new school uniforms per year. - It may include some medical and dental attention. - It will include registration fees and school materials. We recently registered 820 more children in school, (for their first time - or in many cases for the first time in years) buying their uniforms and starter kits. We are also buying uniforms and paying registration fees for many of the nearly 3,000 children we got into State Schools over the past three years.

Return to HOME page.