Manuela is required to go to school in order to obtain the monthly food donations from Finding Freedom Through Friendship. She can be seen holding her FFF contract in the above photo.
By requiring her family to commit to Manuela's education in order to receive their food staples, FFF is enabling Manuela and other children in rural Guatemalan families to have leverage within their household dynamic. Making sure a child attends school in the more remote areas of Guatemala takes stamina and determination. Children often have to walk long distances to get to school. They may not speak Spanish, which is spoken in schools, as a primary language. Parents may be illiterate, and therefore might not value education. School expenses often hamper desire to educate children.
When FFF facilitators present single mothers with contracts, we are making a statement on our belief that educating their children is a collaboration of efforts between FFF and the family. The majority of our mothers have to sign using their thumbprint (as did Manuela's, note above), which demonstrates the need for education even further. As the head of their households, an illiterate single mother is more at risk for becoming the victim of theft, for being taken advantage of financially, or needing to marry in order to provide for her children. Her ability to earn a life-sustaining salary is very restricted. FFF hopes to help break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty within the households of each single mother we assist. One contract at a time!