In a small village near Huehuetenango Guatemala, lives Maria Velasquez, a young mother of four children. When Maria was a child, her family was poor and instead of attending school, she worked alongside her parents in planting and the shepherding of sheep. Maria says she was always happy despite her circumstances. She had a strong mind and a desire to learn. She learned how to read along with her friends from the village and little by little she learned new skills such as addition and subtraction.

As a young woman, Maria gave birth to her first child. She knew she wanted to provide her children with the education and opportunities she did not have herself. Maria continued to work with her parents every day and earned just enough money to bring food to her home.

When her fourth child was born, Maria set a goal to change her life and started to sell coffee to generate more income. Although her income had increased, it was not enough to provide the needs for her children. Maria began to save money with the hope to purchase land and start planting. When she realized how difficult it was to save enough money, she went to Mentors Guatemala and received training to help her improve her business knowledge and she was given her first loan of $390 USD. She invested her micro-loan in fertilizer and seeds for the planting of potatoes, beans, wheat, and oats. She was able to use some of the land her parents farmed.

Maria worked hard and paid back her loan. Over time she began to see a great difference in her lifestyle. This helped her stay determined and as her business grew, Maria needed to hire employees to help her plant and harvest, and she had the money to pay these employees she hired.

Because of her dedication to work and her discipline in paying her loan, Maria was able to receive an additional loan for $1300 USD, which she invested 50% in the planting of coffee and the other 50% in the planning of potatoes, oats, wheat, and beans.

Maria is very grateful for the support that Mentors Guatemala has given her. Because of Mentors Guatemala, Maria has confidence and provides all she needs for her children. She says this fills her with the most joy she can have.

Maria expresses that working with Mentors Guatemala is a blessing. She also expresses immense gratitude to the people who have donated their resources to help others out of poverty. Because of the generosity of others, many families like hers have been very blessed.

“I may not have luxuries, but I have a decent home. It helps me remember that this is what life is all about; to strive and progress day by day and be grateful for the blessings we have received.”

- Maria Velasquez

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