Ana María López Colaj

Anna María and her Papá

  Anna María has finished secondary school with a teacher's certificate and brings in a little income to her family from teaching.  Her father, a field worker, is aging and can no longer earn the income that supported his family in former years.  Her brothers and sisters chip in what they can from their small incomes as weavers and store attendants; but, even so, their income and necessary expenses barely match.  There is nothing extra for her education.  The university degree will qualify her for a higher salary to help support her family and also allow her to have even greater positive impact on her community and her students.  She attends university on weekends, a 45 minute to 1 hour bus ride, so that she can continue to earn her meager teacher's salary.

Anna María is active in Comolapa as a leader in a youth choir and part of a community library project.  She also works with local elections and has worked with a human rights group. Anna María writes eloquently of the challenges faced by adolescents in that difficult period of life; and of the important role a teacher can play in those years of transition.  She also expresses the immense satisfaction she feels when her students go on to become professionals and make a positive difference in the world.