Jose Armando Sical

Armando was born in the village of Xesiguan.  He went to school there for six years, before his family moved to the mountain village of Las Ventanas.  At that point, he had to leave his family and move to the urban center of Rabinal so that he could attend school at the Bilingual Cultural Institute.
There he began to learn many new things.  He also joined groups like Voces y Manos and Tun Dance, where he learned more about his culture and shared ideas with his friends and the community.

I really appreciate all of the people who have given me these opportunities. I thank my family for giving me such a huge opportunity to pursue my studies.
I hope to succeed through my education, especially learning things that I do not already know, so that I can help my family and community.

“Armando is always smiling, always laughing, always energetic. Working with him each afternoon, it is easy to forget that he’s been up since 3 or 4AM, completing his duties at the bakery where he works before going to school. In collaboration with two of the other students, Armando helped put together a project to reforest a hillside where erosion was threatening to wash away a village. The students found a nursery to donate the trees, hired a truck for transportation and organized a planting day, when students and villagers joined together to plant 1500 saplings.”

Marcario Vasquez

Macario was born in Cubulco and lives in Rabinal with his three sisters. His family moved to Rabinal when his grandparents decided to live there.  He has always wanted to play an important role in his family, community and country.

In order for my family to be proud of me and for me to help them, I aspire to overcome the barriers here and move this country forward. To achieve this, I must continue studying to make the most of my opportunities.
We appreciate the little that we have and we must demonstrate that yes we can!  Let’s value this opportunity.

“Macario may embody the worst fear and greatest hope of any educator: a student who is given some basics and then quickly surpasses the teacher. It’s almost impossible not to picture Marcario pursuing politics at either the local or national level. His commitment to community improvement and his ability to organize and inspire his peers and even his elders makes Macario a natural leader.”

Yennifer Valey Gomez

Yennifer likes to participate in different activities at school, and to get good grades.  Although she does not have the resources necessary to pursue higher education, she would like to have a career that will allow her to help her mother financially support her younger brothers through school.

Her father is an alcoholic and does not financially contribute to the family. Although their family has had troubles, they all pitch in and work the fields to sustain themselves.  She would like to work for her community as a health promoter, helping people to overcome the difficulties they face.

I think about the future, where I want to work, how I want to move forward, so that my children can also study and not be held back by obstacles in their lives.  And if they do encounter difficulties, I want them to be strong enough to overcome them, like I am doing.

Sonia Aracely

Sonia is from Rabinal and attends FNE’s Bilingual Cultural Institute. Her parents have been supportive of her completing school, and Sonia, in turn, helps her mother sell goods in the plaza.  One of her goals is to continue to help her parents.  In addition to her parents, Sonia feels supported by her whole community.  She enjoyed participating in the health fairs and working with the Voces y Manos team.

I am so grateful to my family for always helping me move forward. I want to study more to help my parents; I want to become a teacher because I enjoy working with little children.

Lidia Coloch

Lidia is 15 years old and has four siblings.  Her father died when she was 11, and because her family is poor, her mother worries about how to pay for education. While at the Bilingual Cultural Institute, Lidia spent her mornings in school, and her afternoons working.  Before learning of Lidia’s scholarship, her mom told her that after finishing the 10th grade, she would need to leave school in order to work full-time. Lidia is currently studying to become a teacher.

I work hard so that I can tell my mother that I will continue to study.  I want to become a leader in my community and I want to support its people.  I really enjoy working in the village communities with Voces y Manos’ health fairs.

“Yennifer, Sonia and Lidia are working together on a project in the village of Chiticoy. The river that runs through the village is the community’s main source of water for cooking, cleaning and bathing. Unfortunately, it is also badly polluted. The village has no garbage collection so trash- including dead animals- is often thrown into the river. The pollution has now been identified as a major threat to the community’s health.

The girls are organizing to have trash bins placed in the most populated areas of the community. The goal is to encourage proper waste disposal, thus protecting their precious river. They are working with their village mayor to also have regular trash collection.“

Claudia Xiomara Ixpata

Claudia lives in the village of Guachipilin, just outside of Rabinal. She is 17 and has three siblings.

At 6, she started attending the same small school as her sisters. There, she learned important values such as sharing, respect, and the interdependence of all living things in the universe. She is very close to her siblings, and they often help one another with their schoolwork.  She particularly enjoyed the classes she took in Achí, the indigenous language spoken in Rabinal. She changed schools at 13, which was difficult for her because it was like moving into a second home. Yet she appreciated the opportunity to study at a higher level, and make new friends. Claudia is currently studying to become a teacher.

When I was 17, I was lucky enough to participate in the health fairs, which were very exciting.  I had always enjoyed health classes, and I was very enthusiastic to work with the Voces y Manos volunteers.

“Claudia’s family has been hosting a Voces y Manos volunteer at their home for the past 3 years.  Although she attended a different school than the rest of the students, she was welcomed into the group.  For their community project, these students decided to create an outdoor memory walk that would honor the victims of the Rio Negro Massacres of 1982.”

Marvin Rolando Cahuec Mendoza

Marvin is 15 years old. He is originally from San Rafael, and now lives in Rabinal. He likes playing football and washing clothes.  He also wants to work with young children. Marvin worked with Voces y Manos because he likes leadership, health and working with the community.

I want to study next year for a career in agricultural engineering because I like to take care of animals and people in my community.

Marlon Saúl Sic Cujá

Marlon is 18 years old and lives in a small village. He really enjoys studying and learning things that will help him in the future.  He began studying “Primero Basico” at age 16,  “Segundo” at age 17, and “Tercero” at age 18.

My dream is to continue studying my career until I graduate and I thank Voces y Manos for offering me this help.  I am going to keep working towards this dream and I want to ask Voces y Manos to help me those 3 years for my schooling until I graduate.