Gilda Hernández

Gilda is 24 years old and studies social work. She is a single mother who lives with her parents in a village of San Pedro Yepocapa in the department of Chimaltenango.  She has a large family.  They are ten members living together in the house: her two parents, five siblings, one nephew, Gilda’s daughter and herself.   The family subsists with the income of four members of the family: one brother working as a store security guard, another one as bricklayer, the father as a janitor in the City hall and Gilda who recently got a job with the literacy national committee.  All together they make around $900 per month, which is not real low by Guatemalan standards, but for a family that large it is not enough.  The situation was worse in 2012 and the beginning of 2013 when Gilda didn’t have a job.

In spite of the financial problems she has faced, Gilda is an outstanding woman.  She is currently in her third year of social work and is the only member of her family who has studied at university.  She has a natural inclination to work in community development and has become a good leader.  She has participated in different NGO’s that promote youth and women’s rights and the Mayan culture.  In 2008 she received a basic course in Mayan epigraphy. 

In 2010 she was elected to be part of the Guatemalan delegation that participated in the continental gathering of indigenas peoples and nations in Perú. She also got a scholarship to study a short course in filming and editing of videos as a way to promote rural development.  Gilda wrote in her application letter to PROGRESA : “I want promote to women’s development and let them know that it is possible to change the general concept that indigenous and poor single mothers can’t do more than what the society thinks.  I want to show that it is possible to succeed and help the community at the same time.”   Her statement expresses clearly and loudly what she wants to do.