The habit of reading
Elida, 18 years old, from Parcelamiento Santa Fe, in the municipality of Retalhuleu. She is a young girl who, like many scholarship recipients, is over school age.
Elida entered the scholarship project when she was 13 years old and in 4th grade. However, when she entered the scholarship project she felt motivated to study and thus earn each grade in order not to lose the scholarship that supports her so much.
From the moment she entered the scholarship project, she has made an effort to be an exemplary student.
She loves to read books about stories or life experiences.
Elida comments that, thanks to the Scholarship Project, she has the habit of reading and every time she takes a book in her hands, she dreams with her eyes open, she imagines the landscapes, the people in the context of reading, and above all she feels motivated to continue her studies.
Her great dream is to become a Certified Accountant in order to have a job and help improve the quality of life of her family.
Elida is a very responsible young girl, being the eldest of 5 siblings, she is the one who takes care of them, while her mother works harvesting mangoes, and then sells them in the market to generate income.
In 2020 the scholarship project held a reading workshop, Elida shares that the most important thing for her was to be able to share her experiences with her classmates because they all read and learned together.
The young girl likes to take advantage of the time to teach her siblings, now that there are no on-site classes, she is in charge of helping and teaching her younger siblings.
She is instilling in them how important it is to learn to read and tries to read a little with them when they do their homework.
She says that reading has helped her overcome the shyness she had since she was a child. Through reading she has gained knowledge that allows her to be more self-confident and at the same time to have topics for conversations with other people.
Happy, cooperative, dreamer and with a great desire to excel, these are some of the qualities of our scholarship recipient: Sharol. She lives with her parents, David and Lucrecia, they work to provide for their 5 children. Don David works in construction, while Doña Lucrecia sells tamales. They want their children to have a better future and are committed to their children’s education.
Sharol joined the Scholarship Program when she was in 4th grade. At the beginning she was a child who had difficulty speaking in public and what helped her to overcome her fear was the presentation of the Life Project. She has always shown herself to be participative, dedicated and very friendly. Her classmates always look up to her with questions, as she is very studious.
She is currently in 3rd grade at the high school in her community and comments that the main difficulty she has had during these years at the elementary level is getting used to taking different subjects.
Her teacher says that “in these difficult times, is when she has learned to fight harder for what she wants”. She has had many difficulties, both family and personal, but she has managed to overcome them and learn from each situation. Her goal is to graduate to prove to her parents that each and every sacrifice they make for her and her siblings to study is worth it.
Sharol dreams of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in science and letters, and then applying to the police academy to become part of the National Police force. She wants to serve the country and, thus, be able to change circumstances.
Dorcas is a 15 year old girl. She lives with her parents and 9 siblings in a small village of San Martín Zapotitlán, Retalhuleu.
When she entered the Scholarship Program, Dorcas was 11 years old and in 4th grade. During these 5 years she has proven to be a dedicated student; collaborative, friendly, cheerful and always striving for success.
She is currently in the second grade of highschool. She is shy and it is difficult for her to have the confidence to talk to other people, but she has been overcoming her shyness by participating in various school activities, which have strengthened her self-esteem. This time of pandemic has helped her to relate more with her family, strengthening the bonds of love between her siblings and making the family unit better.
The girl's father works as a mason's aid, her mother takes care of the children, who are still young, and her older siblings contribute financially to the household. Dorcas takes care of her siblings; she plays to pretend to be a teacher, teaches them to draw, paint and, for the older ones, helps them with their homework, in these months when classes are virtual.
The dream of this young girl is to become a teacher, although she knows that it is a little difficult, since her younger siblings started their studies and their parents told them that studying diversified education will be almost impossible, because of the disbursement. Dorcas says that if it is necessary to work to achieve her dream she will. She wants to be of help to her family and her community.
Kimberly is a 14-year-old girl who lives in a small village of San Martin Zapotitlan (Retalhuleu), called Aldea Ajaxa. She studies the 2nd grade in the Institute of her community. She is a cheerful, intelligent, enthusiastic, young, responsible and very cooperative young girl, she loves to help her younger brother with school work, especially in this time of pandemic that has affected her ability to attend classes. She has taken the project of helping him with his homework and explaining the subjects he has trouble understanding.
As a family, this time has been difficult because the fear of catching the disease and making others sick is a worrying situation, especially since the father of the family has resumed his work. However, the family have not lowered their guard, they continue to comply with the safety protocols they have established since the beginning of the pandemic: they use masks when they have to leave home for any reason, they always carry antibacterial gel, and when they return home they change their clothes and shoes. These habits have allowed them to protect themselves from the virus to date.
Kimberly says she is worried because she has to leave the house twice a week to pick up and turn in homework, but these months at home have prepared her to create habits that will help her stay healthy. The girl's parents say they are reassured that she will be able to go out and continue with her education, because they are certain that she will comply with the rules of hygiene and safety, they trust that God will take care of their children in this difficult time that they are living.
Kimberly says that the pandemic came to teach us the value of being united and above all that, even though it is a very difficult time, we must fight to achieve what we really want.
In the department of Retalhuleu in 2018 the dropout rate on average was 5.6% in the high school education cycle, this means that the equivalent to 1,062 young people abandoned their studies for different reasons, but with a common goal, to work and support their family with the expenses.
This region is hit by the lack of stable jobs, which causes that mainly the father of the family does not prioritize the education of the children and culturally the woman is the one who has less opportunity to continue her studies.
Thanks to the donations during this period 2018-2020 we were able to break this cultural pattern and 43 young girls continued their studies in the basic cycle, 28 of them satisfactorily completed the level and 15 continue studying. Without your support this would not have been possible.
Throughout the three-year period, each girl and their families have received support to guide them on important family issues and training to strengthen the family unity and, above all, that parents recognize their fundamental role in helping each girl achieve her dreams and have access to better opportunities.
On the other hand, personalized and collective tutoring has allowed us to strengthen reading speed and comprehension skills in each girl, since, through small reading tasks and continuous monitoring, improvements have been visualized.
The biggest challenge has been to get families to continue supporting the girls’ studies, especially because of their vulnerability. But despite this, this year 2021, of the 28 girls who finished third grade, 19 have enrolled in high school. The rest, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are still evaluating whether to enroll considering the risks of contagion.
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