Meet Magdalena

When others doubted her, Magdalena found her voice and advocated for her daughter's right to an education.

Angelica is one of the more than 2.5 million children in Guatemala whose classes have been suspended since March 15, 2020. Living in a rural community in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, eight-year-old Angelica doesn’t have internet access or a reliable way to communicate with her teacher. She doesn’t have books at home to help her learn to read. But what she does have is Magdalena.

Magdalena, Angelica’s mom and MM Mother Leader, never had the opportunity to go to school and she is determined to give all four of her children the education she was denied.  It hasn’t been easy for Angelica. At the beginning of this year, she could identify some of the vowels, but couldn’t read with the rest of her classmates. The pandemic and consequent school closures set Angelica even further behind.

“Everyone told me to just take her out of school. They told me that I was wasting my time and the little money we have to buy her school supplies. They said she had a disability and she’d never learn. But I didn’t listen to them,” Magdalena shared.

Magdalena reviewing homework with her daughter
Angelica studying with her mom, Magdalena

Magdalena told us that Mil Milagros has helped her see that she is a woman who can make her own decisions and she decided that Angelica had the right to an education.  Working extra hours hand washing laundry, Magdalena has been able to pay a tutor $7 a month to teach her daughter to read. Magdalena walks an hour every week with Angelica to her tutor’s house and then they walk home together in the dark.

Magdalena beams as she tells us the sacrifice has been worth it to see her daughter’s progress. 

“Now she’s starting to put words together. She’s starting to read!” 

Magdalena was awarded the MM 'Leader of the month' for her hard work and determination

Magdalena and the rest of the Indigenous women leaders in Mil Milagros’ partner communities are the catalysts for change. Where others see limits, they see potential. Angelica is lucky to have a mother who is determined to give her and her siblings a brighter future.