Laura in school uniform with her mother

Laura was born in Yucatan in Mexico. There were only 2000 people in her village and most earned their living by fishing, including her father.

There is only one primary school and a secondary school whose only vocational training was teaching how to make fishing nets.

She used to wait at the harbour for the small fish from the catches each day to sell to get enough money to buy the things the family needed like school supplies and clothing, particularly shoes.

She was introduced to the Sisters by her parish priest and was offered a place at the girls’ school in Chalco in 2001. The journey to school was 33 hours by bus and quite a challenge for a young girl who had never left her village – she also could not afford the bus fare and so the mayor paid this for her and six other little girls.

When she arrived at school, it was even better than she imagined.  She remained at the school for five years and loved her time there, not just the schooling and the skills she learnt, but the friends she made and the confidence that grew in her abilities and hopes for the future. She graduated from school in 2007 with a technical specialism in accountancy.

Laura wearing a hat with a fellow alumni

Laura secured a scholarship at university and moved in with her grandmother. She took an office job as an admin assistant working in an accounts department so she could help support her family while she studied for her degree.

When she left university, she secured the role of managing a candidate’s campaign for election as governor. After the candidate won the election, Laura was offered a role as their executive assistant where she worked for the next eight years.

Since graduating from school into work, she has helped her brothers with accommodation and education. They are now productive adults with families of their own.

Now that she is working, she spends all her free time in areas like Yucatan helping children in poverty with the chance of a place at the Sisters of Mary school. She helps other graduates to go and visit impoverished communities, to tell people of their experience and show that there are new possibilities and a way out.

During the pandemic her father and other fishermen could not sell their fish due to lockdowns affecting the supply chain. She bravely drove a van and helped to bring the seafood to Mexico City in order to sell it to make money for her family and community. This initiative has now become a company that she runs in addition to her regular job in order to help these fishermen continue to make a living during this difficult period.