living beyond the life you were born to
The beautiful country of Guatemala has many small and remote villages. In these towns, there are limited public services including public schooling. Because of this, many children in these villages do not have the opportunity to receive the education they need. Chipastor, is one of these villages. Chipastor boarders San Martin Jilotepeque and San Juan Sacatepéquez and can only be accessed by a bus that travels to the village on Thursdays and Sundays.
There are many poor families that live in Chipastor who can’t afford to pay for their children’s educations past elementary school. And those who can afford it have limited options since there is only one middle school that has a poor quality education with irregular classes. The government requires that all classes be held every other week while the teachers travel to other villages to teach at other schools. Also, the teachers can’t teach school for one of the days during the week because they have to travel to a neighboring city to go to the market. There are sadly many children whose education suffers only because they were born in a more remote village with fewer opportunities.
Thankfully Astrid found a happier path for her story. Astrid entered the Yuda Bands Program in seventh grade. Her mother Carmen was abandoned by her husband many years ago leaving her to raise her two young girls alone. Carmen does what she can by washing people’s clothes, tending her tiny grocery store, and making and selling traditional clothing. This, however, was not enough to pay for Astrid’s schooling when she finished primary school.
As a Yuda Bands Program Director, I remember meeting with Astrid and her mother about her eligibility to enter our program. While talking with her I recall her strong desire to continue her schooling. Astrid said:
“Please, I know you don’t know me well and that this is the first time that you have met me. But there is something I want to say to you both. All I just need an opportunity. I only need a little help. I only want to reach my dreams. One day I want to be a secretary and work hard so I can help my mom. My poor mommy works so hard every single day to provide for us. She said that I couldn’t go to school because we can’t afford it, and that there will be no money for our bus tickets. I understand how difficult it will be, but I want to go! I don’t know what else I can do but ask for help. Please, I will give all my best efforts to get good grades! I want to participate in your program and the activities that you have. I am willing to do anything to study!”
Life Changing Opportunity
When Astrid found out that she had the opportunity to be sponsored by Yuda Bands she was so excited she said she couldn’t even sleep! She was so ecstatic to enroll in school and to be able to study again. Astrid attends school in San Juan. She has to leave early and her mom walks her to and from the bus stop each day on a dangerous road. Astrid’s mother, Carmen, must also make sacrifices for her daughter to continue her schooling and works hard to earn enough for Astrid’s bus fare each day. Carmen said:
“I am so grateful for this support. I always watch over my little girl to see that she is doing well and I will work hard to help her achieve her goals!”
Astrid has worked hard and received good grades in her school. Astrid said:
“I don’t care how far I walk, I love school! I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I want to take advantage of it completely.”
Even though Astrid had many disadvantages as a young girl in a remote village and the daughter of a single mother with low income I know she is on her way to reaching her dreams! Everything is possible if you are willing to work hard for it. Astrid had well established goals and is focused on what she wants and is willing to work hard, and study hard in order to achieve her dreams. Astrid is a perfect example of what the Yuda Bands Program’s goal is. We want to provide opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to reach their dreams!