To smile is to share, to accompany someone, to establish a bond, to generate a connection. A smile lets us know that no matter how afraid, frustrated or alone we feel there is someone who supports and loves us.

Throughout 2016 we have seen and felt the suffering of millions around the world: families and children, who through war and violence, have lost everything and have had to abandon their homes; millions who have lost basic human rights, such as the right to education, health and a dignified life.

Christmas, however, is a time of hope and joy. This Christmas, Friends of Fe y Alegría in the United States invites you to recapture hope and joy through education, because education, like a smile, is a powerful act that can transform the world.

Through education we smile upon millions of girls, boys and youth around the world. We let them know that they are deserving of a future full of possibilities and wonder. Their schools, whether they attend a private school in Washington D.C. or sit under a tree in Madagascar, serve as happy and safe places where everyone, despite their differences, belongs.

Your smile is a gesture of love and support that has allowed us in 2016 to provide education in 21 countries around the world, so that together we can transform the realities and futures of more than 1.5 million students.

As we finish 2016 and enter into a new year, we invite you to continue to share your smile and to support the smiles of millions of children around the world, because in the face of fear, sadness, pain and uncertainty, what the world needs more than anything is the power of your smile.

To continue supporting the smiles of children and youth around Latin America and the Caribbean throughout 2017, please consider supporting one of the following projects:

(1) “Tell Me Everything Ecuador” Alternative Education Project

(2) School Kitchen Renovation in Salta, Argentina

(3) Four School Playgrounds for Dominican Children