Dulce Maria's Story
The School Sponsorship Project
in conjunction with CANFRO’s partner, The Centre of Hope for Children
Tierra Blanca is an indigenous Triqui village of fewer than a thousand people in the remote mountains in the southwestern part of the state of Oaxaca. Literacy and educational levels there are low. The region is known, sadly, for long-running and often violent political and land disputes. When Dulce María Martinez Ramirez was a child, her family of seven came down from Tierra Blanca to the city of Oaxaca. “When I was five years old,” she says, “I was accepted for support by CEI [Centre of Hope for Children]. I started kindergarten and have completed all my education with their help.”
The support that CEI provides, such as paying for school fees, shoes and uniforms, and school supplies and books, makes it possible for students like Dulce Maria to imagine a future career. She says, “I always enjoyed working with young children and seeing them develop. I decided to be a bilingual teacher, helping educate children from the villages like where I came from.”
Dulce Maria was accepted into the Escuela Normal Bilingue Intercultural de Oaxaca. This school, located in San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, southeast of the city of Oaxaca, trains bilingual teachers in Oaxaca in sixteen indigenous languages. This training allowed Dulce Maria to undertake practice teaching in several villages. She writes: “I am currently finishing my professional practice (student teaching) for one year in Tierra Blanca working with 26 children between the ages of four and five and writing my thesis. Thanks to CEI because in July, age 23, GPA of 80%, I will graduate with a degree in Bilingual Preschool Education, both in Spanish and Triqui, my native language. In the future, the government will send me to a village to teach where needed. I will be the fourth CEI graduate from this university to return to various villages to help educate others of our indigenous backgrounds.”
Thanks to opportunities provided by generous sponsors, students in places like Tierra Blanca can study in their own languages, with a teacher who models the gifts that an education can provide.