It's always exciting to hear from the students who receive Mayan Hands scholarships. At a recent gathering of scholarship recipients and their mothers, the mood was celebratory as one by one girls described their aspirations, their accomplishments and their community service projects. When Micaela's turn came, everyone listened carefully as hers was a very special story, which she offered to inspire and encourage her fellow students. Here in her own words is what she had to say about starting school as an adult:
"I always wanted to go to school, but I couldn’t when I was a girl. Later, when I was an adult, I sometimes thought about it, but I had no idea how to do it. I was afraid to even register because I didn’t know how to read or write, not at all.
"What finally motivated me was when I was in the Mayan Hands office and we had to create an invoice, but I couldn’t do it. I thought to myself, this has to stop, now. I need to learn to read and write. I knew that Mayan Hands offered scholarships for girls, for the daughters, and I knew another weaver in another group was going to high school. I decided to apply.
"So in 2013, when I was 33 years old, I started to study at night school. I have to take a pickup to go from Panabaj to Santiago Atitlán and sometimes I am even a little afraid traveling at night. I don’t get home until late, around 9:30.
"That first year I finished 1st and 2nd grade. The next year, I completed 3rd and 4th grade. Last year I finished 5th grade and this year I will finish primary school.
"I am a happy student. Now I can read and I can write. I love to study Spanish. It is hard work, but I have a goal and that is to finish school and to be a woman with an education. It has always been my dream. Little by little I am doing it."