Education Project for Girls
in conjunction with CANFRO’s partner, FONDO
The road to becoming a medical specialist is long and daunting. Lucina Martina Cruz Aragón (Lucy) is well on her way. Her journey has already taken her from her Oaxaca pueblo, to graduating near the top of her class in medical school. Now she is completing her internship at a hospital in Léon, Guanajuato.
Lucy comes from the matrifocal subsistence agricultural community of San Marcos Tlapazola, just over an hour’s drive from Oaxaca. Villagers tend their fields, raise animals for sale in the nearby Tlacolula market, and make and sell handmade tortillas, the pre-Hispanic drink tejate, and terra cotta pottery. That’s what Lucy’s mother and aunt do. Girls begin to be groomed for marriage long before puberty, and are often pregnant and living with a man shortly thereafter.
Lucy’s mother recognized Lucy’s potential and wanted to offer her the chance for a different life. But her family couldn’t afford to pay for the entrance exam, books, tuition, and transportation to a local high school system for youth who exhibit academic potential.
CANFRO added Lucy to its Education Project for Girls and worked with Fondo Guadalupe Musalem (FONDO), a Oaxacan NGO, to provide the needed funds. Lucy was able to dedicate most of her time to her studies rather than assisting full-time with the typical family tasks.
Through FONDO Lucy and other talented young women participated in monthly workshops on subjects including self-esteem, nutrition, resisting emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and dealing with such issues in their home villages. The young women learned through theatre, art, retreats, lectures and excursions. Their world opened up.
Lucy completed high school with the highest GPA of all 152 students in her graduating class, even though she had heavily weighted her courses with mathematics and sciences. Her perseverance paid off when she was accepted at medical schools with stellar reputations in both Oaxaca and Puebla.
Now, having completed medical school at the Universidad Regional del Sureste in Oaxaca, and having embarked on an internship, Lucy is thriving – thanks to a generous family of Canadians and CANFRO. Over the years she has become close with her Canadian sponsorship family, enjoying several trips to Canada, participating in a Canadian family wedding, and having the chance to observe at Toronto area hospitals and medical offices. For this 100% bilingual (Zapoteco/Spanish) doctor, the road ahead looks bright.