Luisa with her family and Sister Maria inside a wooden hut
Luisa with her aunt, a cousin and Sr Maria

"My name is Luisa, I was born in a very poor family."

When my mother got pregnant with me, she was very young and she decided to leave me with my grandparents. When I was 3 years old, I returned to live with my mother and new brother along with my stepfather who adopted me. He decided to go to the USA, he said it was in order to give us a better future.

When I was 6 years old my mother left us to be with another man, so I went back to my grandparents. My grandmother passed away in 2008. So I returned to my mother and her boyfriend, but he did not treat me very well. He tried to abuse me and hit me.

When I was 14 years old, my mother had problems with my stepfather and they separated for a long time then it was at that time that my mother started going out at night,  to dance and celebrate as if she had no children. At home there were only two people left, my little brother who was 6 years old and myself.

In spite of it, I made an effort to continue studying, I asked money from my uncles, I sewed clothes and worked very hard. I got up early, made my brother his breakfast, bathed him and brought him to school each day. My mother didn’t care if she had children, she went out and enjoyed her own life.

Luisa sitting at a school desk smiling

One day in November 2015...

I noticed my mother acting very mysteriously, at dawn she was preparing her things to leave the house, I asked her where she was going and she answered, “it is your problem if you want to follow me or not.” I asked about my brother and she told me that she was not going to take him with her. I told her that I did not want to go with her without my brother. She said that it was fine, gave me 20 quetzals (Approx. £2) and left the house.

The days went by and I was very sad, when my cousin asked me with whom I was living, and I said that I was alone. He asked me if I wanted to go to live in their house and I said yes. I went to my aunt’s house where I helped my aunt do housework.

My other cousin asked me if I wanted to continue studying and I said yes, he introduced me to the Sisters of Mary school. I was very happy for the possibility to study and I entered Villa de las Niñas on January 4, 2016.

Thanks to God in the first year I behaved very well although in the study it was quite hard for me but I did my best. I keep smiling, I have been very strong and I have endured many things but they have not been an obstacle for me.

I am grateful to the school for the great support they have given me. I am grateful to the Sisters, my uncles, aunt and cousins ​​who have not left me.”

Luisa studied hard at school, excelled in sewing and fashion design and has now graduated from school into work. She is a very skilled young woman, earning a regular salary to support herself and keen to ensure that she uses her opportunity not just for herself but to “help my little brother, my uncles and the people who need my help”.