Portrait photo of Meily in uniform
Meily, Sta Serafina family, Guatemala

Meily, was born in 2005, in Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. She is the fourth of five children.

When she was five years old her mother began to teach her how to do the household chores so that she could help her mother when she was out at work selling tortillas.

In 2012, at the age of 7 she was able to enter first grade at school but in the evenings she had to work to help her mother raise money by washing corn ready for grinding. To do the work she often had to carry the corn in big containers on her head. She was often embarrassed by the comments of people who talked about how her mother sent her to work in this way.

After school, her daily routine would be to sell tortillas in front of the park with her mother. It was a miserable life and she says “the truth is that I did not enjoy properly my childhood, I did not have time to play with my classmates, there were times when I longed to go play, but I could not. I would watch my classmates playing and they would tell me let’s go play and my answer was: “later because I had to finish what my mother asked me to do”.

In 2012, her sister was born and whilst her mother worked, she took care of her, washing her nappies and she was occasionally able to attend school. Then in late 2017 during their work in her community she met the Sisters and they offered her a place at school.

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She entered Villa de las Niñas, Zona 13, Guatemala on January 5, 2018. It was not easy to adjust to being away from her family but she settled into her new school family, Santa Serafina, in the care of the Sisters and during the five years she has been at school she has thrived.

She says, “my hobbies are playing football, basketball, reading, drawing, running, and singing, what I like most is dancing and acquiring new knowledge. I love school. During the day I receive eight hours of classes. After classes I go out to run with my classmates, to play, garden or other activities. At night from 7:30pm to 9:15pm I do my homework . Every day I learn something new to be able to be someone in life and achieve my goals and objectives.”

One of her dreams is to graduate from college, start a business to give employment to people who need it, learn another language, help the poor by giving them support in whatever way she can.

She says, I am really grateful for the opportunities that the Sisters of Mary have given me and also to my Santa Serafina family who have always been by my side to help me and give me their advice .”