In Guatemala only 42% of adolescent girls enrol in middle school. In rural areas, the rate is lower. Plan International supports secondary school education for children in rural areas.
In the morning women from Estela's family chop vegetables, make fritters, create sauces and fill empanadas to sell. Around noon she walks to school with a basket of food to sell during recess.
Completing high school education is important to girls in this region as they are particularly vulnerable to early pregnancies, marriage and violence.
“Since my mother could not buy my notebooks, I sell food, and that is how I bought my things. Some friends ask me if I am not ashamed of selling, but I say no. My father taught me to work and not feel ashamed of it. ” says Estela proudly.
Her mother, Esperanza (35), is a widow and works hardly to raise her 6 children.
“I think it is very important to study to have a better future, to find good work. I would like to be a nurse, to cure people in the community” says Estela.
In her class there were 23 boys and just 2 girls, so she and her friends promote high school education for girls in their community. As a result, 15 girls have enrolled at the secondary school.
Plan Guatemala supports 32 secondary schools with 2,439 students.