We’ve talked before about the pressures that students in Guatemala face when it comes to continuing their education – especially at the secondary level. Did you receive our Fall Newsletter in your mailbox? Mardoqueo’s story so clearly illustrates how easy it is for educational plans to be derailed – and how much it means for our students to have continued opportunities to study:
Soon after Mardoqueo graduated from Grade 10, the unthinkable happened. His dad was rushed to the hospital with an unexplained health issue, and never came home.
As the oldest son, Mardoqueo suddenly faced responsibilities that no teenager should bear. Instead of planning for his own future, he had to look for a job to be able to support his widowed mother and four younger siblings. In the end, he began working in the fields harvesting vegetables and cutting flowers. The 60 quetzales (about $8) that Mardoqueo earned each day was his family’s only income.
Mardoqueo dreamed of continuing his education so that he could find a better job. He even checked out various secondary schools in the municipality of Purulhá. But all the options were so expensive, and he didn’t have a lot of money to set aside for studies.
Then, one of his former classmates told him about the brand new Vida Extension Program starting the following school year.
This distance learning program allows students to work during the day, and study evenings and weekends. Each Saturday, students attend a special devotional time and tutorials with their teachers, and use the computer labs to work on their studies. One of the program sites was even at Vida Mocohán, the school where Mardoqueo had attended junior high!
Mardoqueo wasted no time in registering for the three-year accounting option, a program he knew would provide him with good job prospects to better support his family. He was thrilled to find a way to continue his studies, despite his changed responsibilities.
It hasn’t been easy. From Monday to Friday, Mardoqueo leaves his house at 5 a.m. and returns at 6 p.m. On Saturdays, he attends the program on the Mocohán campus. At night, he still has schoolwork to do. But next month, he will officially be a high school graduate with a diploma in accounting. His father – who himself couldn’t read and write – would have been so proud.
We’re so proud of Mardoqueo, too. On behalf of Mardoqueo and all the other students in our Vida Schools, THANK YOU for your prayers, support and encouragement that make stories like this possible!
Mardoqueo was able to take advantage of our Vida Extension Program to keep learning. In Impact’s Fall Newsletter, you’ll also read about Melissa, who graduated from our teacher training high school program and Amarilis, who is studying at our newest junior high.