Isabela, 12

Estela, 9

When Estela, 9, was in 1st grade, she was inspired by her teacher, Juana Josephina Guinea, who is a patient and peaceful leader among the energetic students she teaches. Since then, Estela, now in 5th grade, has only wanted to be one thing when she grows up – a teacher. She respects each of her teachers and hopes to be just like them when she is older.

Estela is a small but kind and thoughtful young girl with a slow, confident smile. Estela started out quite shy and slow to speak, however, after participating in the Qach’umilal program, her teachers and family talk about how much she has developed as a young girl, and how much confidence she’s gained. She’s even made many new friends with the other children.

Estela lives at home with her mother Magdalena, her father Marco, and siblings, and often helps take care of her little brother and works around her family home. A talented embroiderer in her own right, Estela helps her mother weave traditional güipiles for sale and is learning more techniques and patterns every day. Her mother and father are a proud, hard-working couple, and are committed to making sure that Estela remains in school and becomes the best woman she can be once she’s older.

She loves animals and looks forward to playing at recess each school day, just like most 9-year-olds, and looks toward a future where she can help support her parents and family, and help buy a new house for them.

Quote from Juana Josephina Guinea, 1st Grade teacher at Panzac I School: “I see that within this community, girls need opportunities and development so they can move forward. I have watched Estela develop within this community. At the beginning, she was a very shy girl. Additionally, you have been able to observe the difficult situation in which her parents live. However, she has been a good example for me as a teacher and for all the girls in this community. When a person decides to do something, they require effort, sacrifice, and good will to move forward as a girl and as a woman.”