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Ana Maria’s Journey

Ana Maria lost her father when she was just three years old. The youngest of 4, Ana Maria dreamt of going to school and eventually college, but money was scarce and her mother struggled to keep the family afloat.

Girls’ Voices helped change that. In 2016, we ran our very first workshop in Panajachel, Guatemala, and Ana Maria was one of the first participants. Along with 10 other girls, Ana Maria learned new skills, created her own mini-documentary, and received a scholarship to help her stay in school.

“When I got my scholarship, I invested it all into my education. Uniforms are required, which I could not afford before, so I used that for the three years that I was in that school,” she recalls.

[See Ana Maria’s first video “Fighting for Opportunity”]

Ana Maria participated in Girls’ Voices for three years and we’ve loved watching her grow through her videos. Since creating her first video, Ana Maria has assumed leadership roles in her community, volunteers her time at the public grade school in her neighborhood, and supports her mother’s group of women artisans, acting as the Spanish translator for those who do not speak it in her Kaqchiquel community.

In fact, thanks to your support, Ana Maria was the first Girls’ Voices scholar to graduate high school and is preparing for her first day at college.

“This year, I’m going to Universidad Mariano Gálvez to study business administration. I’m very excited that my studies aren’t over because I still have so many dreams to pursue,” she shared.

Ana Maria recalls being a shy and soft-spoken student before Girls’ Voices.

“I felt so small like no one would listen to me. After joining Girls’ Voices and having so many people watch my video, people ask me about it and compliment my story. I feel like they admire me and now I see myself as someone who can fight for what I believe in. Before Girls’ Voices, I felt I couldn’t make a difference, but now I feel like I can lead a group,” she says.

[See Ana Maria’s 2018 video “Ana Maria’s Vision”]

However, it’s just not Ana Maria’s life that has changed, but the lives of all those around her!

“Since people saw my video, people kept asking where I did this and how they can participate. I told them all about the program and how it helps other students around the world. It’s piqued people around me’s curiosity,” she says, adding that it has inspired many to reach for their own goals.

“Our ancestors may not have had the opportunities we have now so we must take advantage of them and make the best out of them,” she said.

She explores these opportunities and her plans to fulfill her passion in her last video entry “My Hope to Change My Family.”

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