What are mothers in Guatemala facing?
Stories from Mothers
Last year, we began to interact more with moms, beginning a series of meetings that would become our "Mujeres en Acción," women in action, parent program this year. Over the years that we've known them, and now with a space for open communication, they've told us a lot about their wishes and needs for the program.
Vilma is a mom of 4 who works selling scarves and sometimes birdseed in Antigua's central park. Her oldest is in secondary school, and her youngest is 3 and usually accompanies her in the park during the day. Her youngest daughter usually comes to the park in the afternoons to help her mom sell.
Last year, both of her daughters failed the year of elementary school, 3rd and 1st grade. In her home, her husband is no longer supporting her daughters' education. She tells us that he no longer sees the point for them to go to school, since they've already failed. For this reason, Vilma has three of her children enrolled in Sueños. She wants them to pass this year.
Vilma has been a street vendor her whole life and she doesn't want the same life for her children. "Yo nunca tuve la oportunidad," she tells us about studying, "I never had the opportunity." She has changed schools this year so that her daughters have a better chance of passing. She tells us that bullying is what has kept them out of school in the past, and this year she is determined for them continue going to school, and wants them to be able to do so happily. This year she and her children will be participating in the programs: Soñadores, Pequeños Soñadores, Tutoring, and Mujeres en Acción, our parent program for moms.
Raquel has three children and sells Guatemalan textiles in Antigua's Central Park. Two of her kids are elementary school age, and one was born in late 2017.
Her kids participate in Sueños because she likes the classes that they can attend. She is excited that this year they will have access to tutoring, as well as some school supplies. One of her kids failed the school year in 2017, and the other barely passed the year, so she believes that tutoring will help them be on top of their school work.
The main reason she wants her kids to be in Sueños is because she says that the organization provides the attention that she doesn't have the time to give because she has to work.
Cristina is a mother of six girls who works in Antigua's Central Park with her husband and children. The family sells ice cream, scarves and textiles, and the youngest girls sometimes sell candy or gum to tourists. When there are special events in the park, they sell lights and other souvenirs, and they are in the park as late as the tourists and locals.
The majority of her six daughters are in primary school. However, the oldest dropped out last year, after experiencing racism from her teacher, and she has decided not to re-enroll this year. A few students who faced other problems last year, and were all around the same age (12-14) inspired us to begin the program "Sueños en Acción" for adolescents this year.
Cristina participates in the program because her daughters love coming to classes. She tells us that at home they pretend they are at Sueños, singing, dancing, and playing different games from the class.
Cristina was never able to go to school and her commitment to her daughters' education is clear. This year she and her daughters will participate in the programs: Sueños en Acción, Soñadores, Pequeños Soñadores, Tutoring, and Mujeres en Acción, our program for moms.