Major: Educational Psychology
School: Universidad Mesoamericana, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Originally From: San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala
In 2003, when GSSG founders first met Blanca, she was an orphan who did not know her birth date or age because no birth certificate existed. She had never had a birthday party. Her uncle remembered that she was born on May 28 but did not know the year. Blanca appeared to be about ten or eleven. Her uncle, his common-law wife, their children, the wife’s sister and her children, and Blanca were living in a small cement-block house in deep poverty. Blanca’s uncle had a job as an unskilled laborer; his wife’s sister, who shared a bedroom with Blanca, was supporting herself and her children as best she could. Blanca kept her clothes in a cardboard box on the floor. At the time, a volunteer was teaching Blanca and other children who had never been to school to read and write.
GSSG engaged a lawyer to obtain a birth certificate for Blanca, obtained an ID for her, and enrolled her into school. In 2005, GSSG was able to bring Blanca to the USA, as one of the first group of their scholarship students, to give her the opportunity to study in a US high school while living with an American family.
Despite her late start in education, Blanca proved to be a very strong and engaged student, participating in various clubs including the Student Council, and even being inducted into the National Honor Society. After graduation, she attended Wake Tech Community College, and then returned to Guatemala to continue her secondary education at Universidad Mesoamericana, still sponsored through GSSG. Blanca began a major in social work because of her passion for helping others, but various experiences she had helping disabled children through her university program led her to a major in educational psychology.
Blanca has worked in a call center while attending school, to help purchase needed supplies for school, and to help with the support of her family and the education of her cousins. She once wrote to her sponsors about the schedule she has maintained while a university student: My hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. After work, I come home do my homework and then go back to college from 5 to 10 PM. It’s been challenging but worth it because not everyone has the privilege to study and get a college degree.
This bright, dedicated young woman is anxious to finish her degree and begin helping children with special needs through her career. She is very grateful for the opportunity GSSG sponsors have given her, writing: I will always thank you for supporting me through this journey . . . something which I never dream[ed] of completing because studying is a privilege for us Guatemalans.
If you decide to sponsor this student click on the link to the Donate page.