Timotea, 14, the eldest of six siblings, lives in an indigenous Maya community in Guatemala which speaks its own language, Achí. Her village is 15 kilometres from the municipal capital, where the main public services are located. It’s not easy to get there as there is no regular transport system and the road is often very muddy.
Her father attended school for three years and her mother for just one year. Timotea’s father is a farmer and every year he has to leave his community to look for work. Her mother, in addition to doing all the household chores, runs a small sales business to contribute to the family finances. Their challenging economic circumstances make it difficult for them to support Timotea’s education.
Thanks to the scholarship that Plan International has given me, I have been able to buy my school supplies, uniform and shoes.
"My family makes a great effort so that I can continue studying. To support them, I help my mother with the household chores and with her business. During my vacation, I travel with my aunt to the capital to find work," Timotea explains.
The family home is quite a long distance from the school. "I walk an hour each way to get to school. That's why it's hard for me to arrive on time for the start of classes or meet up with my friends after school to do group work".
The majority of girls in the community where Timotea lives also experience similar difficulties to continue their studies. They often leave school at a young age because many parents think that education is of little importance to girls, the belief is that it is better that girls are married quickly so that they do not continue to be an economic burden on the family.
Timotea, however, is bucking this trend thanks to Plan International’s scholarship programme which is helping hundreds of girls fulfil their dream of an education. She has now completed her second grade at primary school and is very excited to be able to continue her studies as she sees a promising future for herself.
"Thanks to the scholarship that Plan International has given me, I have been able to buy my school supplies, uniform and shoes. I have also learnt more about my rights. I feel very happy and I am sure that I will be able to graduate as an accountant and when this happens, I will be able to get a job to help my sisters and brother continue their studies," says Timotea determinedly.
"My family’s situation and the challenges I face every day to attend school, will not stop me from continuing to fight for my dreams. I worry that some of my friends are not studying, due to lack of money or because they are not interested in education or because their family does not support them. I always advise them to return to school if they want to have a better future".