José is 22 years old and already has had four years of experience working in construction drafting. He graduated from a technical institute in Quetzaltenango with a degree in “Construction Drawing” and then returned to live with his aging parents in Santa Clara La Laguna, a small village located slightly inland from Lake Atitlan. He has five older brothers and sisters but all of them are married and live apart from the family home. In the last three years he has been the sole supporter of his father, who is 84 and his mother, who is 63.
Last year José tried to continue his studies on his own but had to leave because of financial problems With our help he has returned to Quetzaltenango in order to complete his university degree as a civil engineer. His plans are well thought out and realistic. He will have to leave his current job where he is paid Q2000 a month when he moves to Quetzaltenango but feels confident that he will be able to earn at least Q500 a month in order to supplement the combined scholarship and loan he will receive from Progresa. When we expressed concern about how his parents would survive without his support, he supplied us with a document signed by all his siblings vowing that they would take care of their parents in his absence.
When he graduates José would like to return to Santa Clara which currently does not have any professionals of this type. Not only would he plan to open his own design and construction firm where he could design roads, bridges, water and sewage systems and other infrastructure projects, he would like to work with the municipal authorities to help improve health, education, sanitation and home construction.