Of the 117 students supported in 2021, 46 were in elementary and high school, 27 were in technical careers and 44 in university. Some of our university and technical students, with empathy and solidarity, provided extra help in the way of online support and in person extra classes for our elementary and high school students who were experiencing difficulty due to online education.
In 2021, our students, conscious of the fact that they receive support from many sponsors and organizations, did their best to complete their studies. 59 of our students received bonuses for their good grades, and this was always helpful for covering extra expenses, particularly during the pandemic.
45 students were also supported with cellphones, laptops and internet acces so they could attend their clasess online. Another 13 students borrowed books books from our library.
According to our students’ requirements, they were provided with school materials and equipment for their higher education. 24 students needed support in 2021 for short term courses and travel expenses for class trips. Many university programmes required extra English and in 2021 Helping Hands supported 12 of our students with complementary English classes through an agreement we have with the FIRST CLASS Institute which gives Helping Hands a 50% discount.
In order to protect our students’ health, 66 young people had a dental check-up, 55 received dental treatments, 16 received health care and 5 received psychological support.
In coordination with parents and teachers, our Social Worker and our Counselors monitor our students’ progress. This is very important for the students to feel accompanied, advised and supported in their activities. In 2021 the Social Worker monitored 88 students and the Counselors interviewed 99 students online.
Helping Hands encourages volunteerism. Our students are required to do a volunteer activity twice a year according to their possibilities and the needs of their communities. They are very grateful to receive support from Helping Hands for their studies, and they in turn enjoy doing something to help others around them who may need it. Their activities include cleaning up their neighbourhoods, giving food and school materials to families in need, working with disadvantaged youth, visiting the elderly, feeding abandoned dogs and much more.
In order for the Helping Hands team to continue developing its capabilities and personal skills for a better intervention with our population, workshops were held on Leadership, Strategic Planning and Fundraising with the assistance of the entire staff. Likewise, workshops were held with full staff participation for the review and implementation of Institutional Anti-fraud and Anti-corruption Policies, Vulnerable Population Protection and Disclosure of Bad Practices in the Workplace. All these regulations are being applied, having received feedback according to the experiences of each area.
In spite of all the difficulties encountered in 2021, we are thankful that our students met their goals and rose to the challenges of the pandemic. Although we could not celebrate with our traditional Christmas party, thanks to many contributors, all of our students received the gifts of Christmas bread (paneton), powdered milk, cocoa, cookies and gifts for the younger children.
Our work and our students’ success would not have been possible without the contribution of our funders who, with their partnership and solidarity, have made the dreams of each of our students come true. Many thanks from each of our students and their families, as well as the all of the Helping Hands team. We send you our very best wishes for a healthy, successful 2022.