Hermelinda's family and personal history is tragic. She has two brothers remaining at home, both of whom are relatively well educated, one employed as a teacher. She had started her University work when her father became very sick, was transported to the capital for some weeks, and eventually returned home where he took a turn for the worse and died. This was an enormous financial drain on the family, and she needed to quit her jobs cleaning houses and drop out of school to take care of her father. The family is in debt due to the medical costs. Her mother has moved in with an older brother who is a subsistence farmer. With family somewhat stabilized, Hermelinda has been able to return to school with help from Progresa. Her program is quite expensive and she gets no help from her family, but does work part time cleaning houses which reduces the need for assistance somewhat.
Special education in rural Guatemala is a relatively new concept, so Hermelinda is a bit of a pioneer. She has a clear vision of the needs of the children she will serve, and how important they are. Her goals are to become something of a specialist, where she can work with schools to set up programs to serve children with special needs, and prevent the abandonment and mistreatment of such children. In the long run, she would like to be able to development a rehabilitation center for people with limitations, be they physical, mental or other. Hermalinda has been very active in her church, teaching classes for children, youth, and adults. She also works with an association dedicated to revitalizing her Q'anjob'al culture: language, art, traditional clothing, music, health and education.
Hermelinda is a remarkable and gifted young woman who has come from a very difficult rural background with a vision to make life better for some of the most underserved people in her community, region, and country. She clearly has the determination to complete this work, and we are very happy to be able to help her on this journey.