This is Oliver, a High School student enrolled in Universidad del Valle de Guatamala (UVG). He is a tenth grader from the village of Buena Vista, Sololá. He has six brothers and sisters. His father is a day laborer living out of the country.  Oliver’s mother works without stopping in the farm fields where she earns 25 Q ($3.35) per day to buy food for her six children. Her dream is to continue working to allow her children to advance. Oliver has a great desire to improve his situation. His big dream is to become a doctor and help his mother improve her situation.


VILMA BEN COJVilma is from the community of Pena Blanca. She is charming, very cheerful and a true  dreamer. She is the oldest of eight brothers and sisters.  Vilma is enrolled at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG). Her accomplishments are already astonishing despite many challenges in her life. Neither of her parents had an opportunity to go to school. It has not been easy for her to attend school beyond the 6th grade. Her father is diabetic and needs money to buy medicine. He does not have a steady job. Due to her situation Vilma was forced to drop out of school for three years and go to work in Guatemala City making tortillas. While working she always maintained her hope of returning to school. Now that she has the opportunity of being in the scholarship program, she strives to reach her goal of having a professional career.


TOMASA SALOJTomasa is a young woman from the rural community of Chaquiya. It is located between forests and fields of corn, flowers and herbs. She is cheerful and very focused. She is the fourth of six sisters. In spite of facing sexual discrimination as a young woman, she is determined to show that women have the capacity to obtain an education and improve their lives. Her dream is to be an English professor or work in tourism.  Tomasa is currently in the eleventh grade at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG).


MAYRA TAUTIUMayra is from the small community of Buena Vista. She is an exceptional girl for many reasons. She has a calm demeanor but she is tenacious. She applies herself and is determined to achieve her goals in spite of everything.

She is the third of six children in her family. Her mother is very talented with weaving in spite of not being able to read or write.

Attending secondary school was something of a challenge for Mayra. She had to face many fears as she transitioned from a  small rural school with a half day schedule to a much larger and much more demanding school with a full day schedule in a more urban environment. In spite of these challenges Mayra has really applied herself and earned good grades.  Mayra is currently enrolled in the eleventh year at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala  (UVG).  Congratulations Mayra! You are an example of what can happen when a person has faith, works hard and is determined.


Francisco is from the small village of Buena Vista, SololaFrancisco Alfredo Coj Sulugui. He is sixteen years old and lives with an aunt of advanced age, one sister and three brothers. The children are orphans. At this time he is in the eleventh year in Monte Mercedes. He is an enthusiastic young man with a good personality and has a great desire to overcome his difficulties. He is described as being collaborative and counts on the moral support of his brothers and sister. He has many goals for his life, including being a successful professional so that he may help his family and the community. Although he is unable to count on the support of his parents, who died some time ago, his desire to have a better future motivates him to study. His current average in school indicates that he is a good student.


Ángela is the daughter of a 38 year old farmer and  his 34 year old wife who is a  housewife and weaver. Ángela is the second oldest of her siblings with three sisters angelicacarolinamujratzamand two brothers. She lives in Barrio Calvario, San Andres Semetabaj, Sololá.

This year Angela is enrolled in her eleventh year of high school.  She is very intelligent, hard working and determined. Her dream is to be a veterinarian. She likes very much to help street animals such as cats and dogs.

Ángela helps in the home with housework, caring for the chickens and shelling beans to prepare them for selling. She also helps her siblings with their homework. Ángela wants to be an example for her family and her community that women have the ability to reach their goals. She is sure that the scholarship program will help her to learn a lot.


OLGA TAYOlga dreams of becoming a professional woman. She comes from a humble family in the community of Peña Blanca. Her parents are illiterate; neither had the opportunity to study. In fact, her father is opposed to her studying because she is a girl. However, Olga is very determinate to study in spite of cultural barriers that hold her back; she knows she can improve her life and the future of her family and community through education. This year Olga is enrolled in the eleventh year at high school.


Carlos is from the town of Peña Blanca, Sololá. He is CarlosEnriqueBocelthe youngest of five children and is the first to have the opportunity to advance past the 6th grade in his education. This year he is enrolled in his tenth year at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG). His siblings are happy that he is able to continue his studies. Both his mother and father are illiterate and speak a local dialect, Kachiquel, and a little Spanish. They are very excited that at least one of their children will have the opportunity to have a profession.

Carlos works with his father in the fields when free, but reports that it is tiring and hard to spend all day, every day working in the fields. Also the harvest can be bad from either too much or not enough rain. At other times, when the harvest is good, the competition in the market leaves the farmers with little profit. The dream of Carlos is to be a professional, to have a nice house and a good future because there is not a future working in the fields.

Maria is in the tenth grade, and she lives in Buena Vista, Sololá with her parents and younger siblings. Her parents do not read or write or speak Spanish, they communicate in a local dialect. Maria’s father is elderly and in poor health; he is not able to contribute to the support of the family. Her mother works in the nearby agricultural fields with the neighbors to feed the family. Maria faces cultural as well as family challenges to continue her studies. She has the daily responsibility of preparing the family meals (from scratch, on a wood stove) while her mom is working in the fields. Despite these obligations at home, she has great intellectual capacity and potential coupled with a good spirit to continue the struggle to become a doctor and help not only her family but also her community.

Johana lives in Barrio San Bartolo,Sololá; she has one sister and two brothers. Her father works in Guatemala City as a sales clerk in a store. Her mother prepares snacks to sell in a school in Sololá. Both parents struggle to provide for their family and dream that their children will have better opportunities than them. Johana Mishel helps her mother sell snacks. She is now enrolled in tenth grade at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) , and she dreams of being a lawyer and helping to change the situation of her family.

Maria is from the town of Monte Mercedes, Sololá. This year, she is enrolled in the tenth grade. Her greatest longing is to study. Her parents never went to school and they cannot speak Spanish. There are nine children in the family. Maria will be the first to advance past sixth grade. An older sister left to Guatemala City to work, but she soon died and Maria wants to avoid that situation. Arranged marriages are common in the town of Monte Mercedes, and she fears that at any moment, another family may appear asking for her to marry their son. Maria does not want to marry young. She is excited to continue studying and to be able to follow a career that will allow her to make a difference in the lives of her mother and siblings.

Mayerli lives in the neighborhood of Xejuyu II in the town of San Andres Semetabaj, Sololá. She comes from a large family of 11 children, and most of them have not had the opportunity to advance beyond elementary school. Her father works as a temporary day laborer, and her mother is a stay-at-home housewife. She earns some money as a weaver of traditional Mayan fabrics. Mayerli is excited to study, to become a professional woman, and to avoid marrying very young, as her sisters have done. She says that she very much wants to take advantage of this great opportunity. This year she is in the tenth grade.

Olga is originally from the community of San Bartolo, Solola. Her father works as a seasonal day laborer. Her mother comes out to wash clothes with the neighbors and help with the household economy. Olga helps her mother complete this work in order to earn a little more money also. However her big dream is to continue studying in order to move forward. This year she is studying in the tenth grade. Olga says that not going to school leaves few opportunities for achievement in life. She dreams of many opportunities in order to be able to change the direction of her life.

Silvia is from Monte Mercedes, Sololá and comes from a family where her mother is the head of the household. Her father disappeared some years ago and his disappearance is a mystery. Her sisters did not have the opportunity to go to school beyond the 6th grade. Her sisters work as domestics in the capital. Although her sisters did not have the opportunity to continue in school, they support Silvia because they believe in her potential and do not want her to have a life like theirs.
Silvia is extraordinarily focused in her studies. She was the best of her class in 6th grade and her big dream is to go to university and support her mother to improve her life condition. This year she is enrolled in the tenth grade at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG).

Nayely is the oldest of three sisters. Her mother, Herminia Estela takes care of the home and sells specialty breads (banana, carrot, etc.) to support the family in several nearby towns. Her husband has abandoned the family.
Nayely is from the small village of Canoas Altas near to San Andrés Semetabaj. This year she is enrolled in the tenth grade. To reach school each day, she walks 15 minutes to the highway and then waits for a microbus that takes her to San Andrés. She hopes to be a doctor and be able to help people – and also her mother with support for the family.
Nayely is a friendly, intelligent, respectful and enthusiastic young lady who is ready to learn new things. Her mother is illiterate because she lacked the opportunity to attend school and in spite of the economic burden, wants her daughter to study. With great optimism, Nayely wants to set an example and be the pride of her family. She is very happy to have a scholarship, and she is enrolled in tenth grade.