Did you know the average cost of raising a teenager in the U.S. is $1,100 a month? And that’s only the financial investment. When you also consider the emotional investment, time commitment, brainpower, and sheer physical energy…it’s no wonder raising a child is often called the hardest job in the world.
Now imagine trying to raise 30 pre-teen and teenaged girls who don’t come from a cushioned U.S. suburbia, but one of the most traumatic and impoverished environments in the world. They come to you broken, uneducated, and trapped in a cycle of poverty.
This was the reality for girls living at Villa Esperanza (Village of Hope).
Take Katherine (pictured right), for example, who was one of the first girls to enter the Villa program back in 2008 at the age of 13. She’d been living inside a city dump where girls were preyed on by older men, the air was toxic, and people survived by sifting through garbage. Now, almost 10 years later, Katherine is studying at a university and engaged to be married to a quality young man.
It’s important to focus on that last fact about Katherine–that she’s engaged to a God-fearing young man. In a society where one in five girls is pregnant before the age of 18 (the highest rate in Latin America), and girls as young as 12 are encouraged by their parents to “find a man who can take care of them,” Katherine’s commitment to purity before marriage, and high standard for a husband, is monumental. This alone may be the greatest evidence of her incredible transformation.
Katherine’s story is a Villa Esperanza “dream come true:” a vision realized after ten years of faithful investment and God’s grace. And the 30 girls currently living at Villa Esperanza are just the beginning…the first of many generations of girls God will heal, transform, and empower through the Villa program.
But in order to continue transforming more lives like Katherine’s, we need to keep investing in quality care. Most child-sponsorship programs cover only the cost of a weekly meal and Bible study, with occasional vaccinations. Or they just cover education. But the Villa program offers much, much more, as you can see in the graphic below.
A world-renowned expert in child-focused, community development recently called Villa Esperanza: “The best children’s program for vulnerable children I have ever seen.”*
Amazingly, it still costs less to provide this level of care for these girls (roughly $750/month) than it does to raise a teenager in the States. But the cost is still significant, which is why we urgently need more people to “join this village” through financial support.
Will you prayerfully consider joining or increasing your investment in this Village of Hope through one of the following ways?
1 – Sponsor a girl at Villa Esperanza ($38/month)
2 – If you’re already sponsoring a Villa girl, sponsor a second girl ($76/month) or add $25 to your monthly donation ($63/month)
3 – Become a “village partner” by giving $25/month to support the Villa program
It will take a lot to transform the future for generations for at-risk girls at this Village of Hope; mentors, doctors, tutors, guards, psychologists, maintenance workers, financial partners…the list goes on. It will literally take a village.
But once you meet any of these girls, it only takes a second to see how much they’re worth it.