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Jose Rafael Díaz

Major:  Systems Engineering

St. Thomas More Academy, Raleigh, NC
Wake Technical Community College

Universidad de San Carlos
Universidad de Mariano Galvez (currently)

Employment:  Call center representative, Guatemala City

Activities, Interests: drawing, soccer, computers, teaching/tutoring others English

Rafael was born November 25, 1993, and grew up along with an older brother and younger sister in a poor, rural village outside Chiquimula, Guatemala. His father abandoned the family, so Rafael, his mother and siblings lived in Rafael’s grandmother’s small adobe home, together with uncles and a cousin. The house, like most in the village, had neither running water nor electrical appliances. Rafael’s mother cooked outside over a wood fire, and the family washed their dishes, clothes, and themselves from large outdoor pilas (cement tubs) that were filled once a week with water carried from a community faucet.  Rafael’s mother worked cleaning houses in the town of Chiquimula, barely earning enough to feed her family, and often was not able to return home for weeks. Often Rafael’s family had only tortillas and beans to eat; some days they had nothing at all.

Had Rafael not received help through GSSG, he would not have attended school past ninth grade, because the family could not afford the cost. However, GSSG brought 14-year-old Rafael to the United States in 2009 as one of their original group of scholarship students who lived with American families while they studied at US schools.  After only a summer of learning English, Rafael attended a private college preparatory academy along with several other GSSG students. Imagine what kind of fortitude and hard work it took for Rafael to be successful and graduate from a school known for very rigorous academics!

After a year at community college, Rafael returned to Guatemala to continue his education at the Universidad at San Carlos in Chiquimula, close to his family. However, because he wanted to help support his mother and aging grandmother, plus help purchase materials for a better house for them (their old one is crumbling), Rafael chose to move to Guatemala City where he could use his English skills to work full-time at a call center, while continuing his university education.

Rafael loved to draw and doodle while growing up in Guatemala. During his years at St. Thomas More Academy, he took several art classes and developed his talent, producing beautiful pen-and-ink sketches. He hopes to incorporate his artistic ability into his career developing computer programs and systems.

Rafael greatly appreciates the life-changing impact of the education he has been receiving because of GSSG donors. He wrote in one of his letters to his supporters:

“One of the best ways for a third world country to develop towards a first world country is through education. Many individuals in Guatemala do not have the chance to receive a good education, or they receive none at all. The ones that cannot get a good education are the poor. I came from this background, and I learned that through an excellent education, Guatemala can achieve the dream of becoming a first world country.

With this degree I will be able to develop educational programs for students in Guatemala and develop advanced software that will help with the students’ education. I am planning on helping my country advance because the more educated individuals we have the more our country will progress towards a better future.”

If you decide to sponsor this student click on the link to the Donate page.