La Escuela de la Montaña

un proyecto de la asociación Pa Le Qanil

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Elida's Story

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Elida, aged 23,  is from the community of Nueva Esperanza. This is her story.

I come from a humble family where, in the past, education was not the priority. So when you want to study its difficult to be able to because your family doesn´t understand why you´d want to study. Since your family hasn´t studied, they ask why. They say ‘if we were able to survive without studying, you can continue the same way.’ I am aware of the time we’re in and the necessities that are demanded of us so I decided to study. My father told me that if I wanted to go to school that I would have to wait years so that he could work to save a little money. I decided to study in the IGER school for middle school (a very low cost Catholic Church Radiophonic school) and later, because we lived far away, I had to study in a private high school in Coatepeque. So I tried to look for a solution, how could I help my father? So I looked for a scholarship. And here in the mountain school, they are giving scholarships. So I came to fill out the application and that´s how I started to study. While in middle school, I had to work. I worked as a community health promoter. It wasn´t much that they paid us (Q50 a month) but I was able to use the money to pay for my travel costs to and from Colomba. I worked all week and on the weekends I had to go to school.

elida librosNow I can say that I am doing well, personally. I have achieved things that before I hoped to achieve. I have participated in youth groups, with women´s organizations and I have found a job so I can help my family. And that´s why I think the scholarship program is really good for the youth in this area and also for the parents of these families. The families here are really poor so they can´t cover the cost of education for all their children which is also why sometimes we have to work to be able to go to school. And most of the time, we work just to help our families and we can´teven study.

My parents are old now and my father doesn´t work. So now I´m the one who supports my parents. I live with them. I think my parents have successfully changed their mentality about education. Before, they thought that to study wasn´t necessary. Especially being a woman. Before the family always told my father that he didn´t need to send us women to school because later we were just going to get married and have children. So I think the fact that I studied has changed the way they think. They see education differently now and they think it´s a priority.

I´m a teacher and I really like working with the children in this job (at the community library). Right now I think I am fine but in the future, if I am able to find something more, I will. I couldn´t have completed my studies without the scholarships. I had three years of scholarships and I think if the program had only lasted one year, it would have been difficult for me to continue studying and I don´t think I could have finished without the scholarship because in high school (diversificado) I had to study every day. The teaching track is very demanding and you have to study all week.

I think it´s really important that the Mountain School gives scholarships to the youth but the youth also need to demonstrate their commitment through participation in the community. The Mountain School is doing a lot of things with the youth. Now the youth go to the communities and do community projects in their own communities.