Education Project for Girls
in conjunction with CANFRO’s partner, FONDO
Maria Esther “A door of hope and opportunity”
When you are the youngest of ten children, living in a rural village, a child of parents who themselves were not able to study past primary school, you might not expect to find yourself at university. But María Esther Vásquez Martínez, from Santa María Tlahuiltopec, in the rugged Sierra Norte, comes from a family that values education, even if they themselves were unable to pursue it.
“My mother always told me to study everything I wanted and as much as I wanted,” she has written. For Esther’s mother, “the important thing is that once I finish studying, I may use it for my own benefit, thus managing to transcend and also help control the development of the communal society that exists within my town.”
Esther’s opportunity to pursue her educational dreams came through the Fondo Guadalupe Musalem Scholarship Fund and the support of CANFRO. Their financial support made it possible for her to afford high school fees, buy a laptop and pay for internet, and most of all to dedicate herself “to the tasks, jobs and activities” that school involves. Her high school studies were rounded out with monthly workshops on a variety of topics, among them sexual and reproductive health, leadership, gender equality, and community management. This support represented for her “a door of hope and opportunity.”
The door has led Esther to successful completion of high school, and beyond. Now she studies at the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), where she is earning top grades in her pursuit of a degree in biology. She notes “without any more than my desire and my aspiration to be a woman full of knowledge, I may be able to plant a seed in this world. I have been able to continue with my studies.”
Esther stresses that her academic success is a partnership: it is not only her own achievement, but “an achievement of all those who have supported me generously and unconditionally.” Her high school dream was to ultimately perform conservation work in her own community, focused on flora and fauna, natural resources, and sacred sites. A degree in biology will surely help lead towards her goal. In her words, the support she has received is the wind that propels her, allowing her to “continue sailing in this sea of knowledge.”