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Angela’s father died suddenly one year before she began her university studies.   Her mother was so traumatized by his death that she remained in bed for several months, but is doing much better now.   

Angela is the second of five children and, in addition to her studies, helps her mother in caring for the family.   Angela has completed an internship at Mia Cersa (local Home Depot) at which she did very well and from which she has received great references.

Chonita lives with her parents and her mother is very supportive of her educational efforts.  She has benefited greatly from her mother’s support.   Her father originally wanted her to get married and live a traditional life but is now in favor of her education.

Chonita wants to have a job in the field of education so she can change the way that teachers interact and teach.  She is fun loving, relaxed, and has a lot of spunk and grit.  

Elena lives in a very simple home without electricity outside of Santiago.  Elena lives with her mom who is ill and younger sister.  She is the third of four children.

Because of her mother’s illness, she is the default head of the family.  She must work during the week to help her family.

Elena wants to study communication to become a journalist. She likes to read newspapers. She is one of the few girls who are participating in the Mayan Life travel venture.

Hellen is very proud of her father who  had a drinking problem until four years ago.  He is a weaver and has had difficulty finding enough work to support his family.  She is the second of three children. Her parents are loving and supportive, but they have no money to help her attend university.   She aspires to be the director of a school and work in special education. 

Hellen is confident and well spoken.  While being mentored in the Starfish program, she was runner-up for Starfish girl of the year award.  She continues to get some of the best grades of the students receiving Q Fund scholarships.  

Isabel and her siblings were orphaned after their mother’s death.  Their father remarried and moved elsewhere, leaving Isabel and her two older siblings in their family home. There is a strong bond between them. They managed to stay together as a family and supported themselves financially. Sadly, her father  recently died as well.

Isabel works with the organization, Puerto Abierta (Open Door), a preschool for small children.  She is truly a testimony to the indomitable human spirit and is doing very well in her classes.

Jessica is energetic, positive, and articulate in describing her goals and dreams for attending university. She lives with a very loving, supportive family in which she is the third of four children.  Her parents very much want her to go to university and are grateful for the support she has received through Starfish.

Jessica describes herself as having lots of perseverance and takes opportunities as they are presented to her. She works hard with a positive attitude and believes in herself and her dreams.  She acknowledges that there will be obstacles but feels confident that she can overcome them.  She appreciates her family’s support and their desire for her to succeed. 

She is studying psychology to help people, especially children. 

Juana is the fourth of eleven children.  Her youngest sister is the same age as her oldest sister’s baby. Her parents are very supportive of her continuing her education.

The family lost two children, their home and all of their belongings when hurricane Stan swept through Santa Catarina. Juana's father rebuilt their family home himself.

Juana is studying social work. She wants to have her own clinic to help people in her community, especially women.

She has perseverance and courage and has been coordinator of her group at Starfish.

Leysi wants to study systems engineering in university.  She is enthusiastic, resilient, and smart.  She was the “abanderada” (champion) of her high school class.

Her parents understand the value of a good education for their children and are very supportive.  They could afford to send her to school on week-ends, however, she wants a degree in systems engineering and would benefit from daily studies at a university.  Both parents are very articulate.  Her father put himself through Basico.  Her mother speaks eloquently about the importance of education.  

Leysi attended high school in Xela because her parents wanted her to have a better education.

In addition to her studies, Leysi enjoys reading and is taking piano lessons.

Lola and her siblings were orphaned after their mother's death. Their father remarried and moved elsewhere leaving Lola and two of her siblings in their family home.  The three of them have a strong bond and have been able to support themselves. Sadly, her father recently died as well.

Lola is completing 3 years of English at University de Valle on weekends. She had a 6 month internship with Mayan Life in Antigua. She would like to continue for 3 more years to become an English teacher. Lola and her sister Isabel work at Puerto Abieta (Open Door), a pre-school for small children.

She are a testimony to the indomitable human spirit, is incredibly positive and happy. 

Petronila is the 4th of nine children in her family and none of her older siblings have had much education.  She was told by her parents that she was finished with school after 6th grade.  She protested so much that they finally relented after two years.  She feels very fortunate that she found Starfish to help her graduate high school.


Petronia shows much strength in a family that struggles to provide basic food and shelter.

Rosa is studying psychology at the university.  She is confident and well-spoken.   She identifies perseverance as her best quality. 

Rosa moved in with her aunt and uncle at a very young age because of abuse in her home.  She has lived with them ever since.  Her aunt and uncle support her morally but cannot support her economically to go to university. 

Rosa likes to read books on history, play soccer and listen to music.

Sara lives with her parents and is the 6th of 7 siblings.  She is the second in her family to graduate from high school and the first girl.  She was elected president of her class three years in a row.  Her mother was the recipient of a micro loan from Friendship Bridge and does beautiful embroidery which she sells.  Her father is a farmer.

Sara wants to be a social worker to help women and children in her community. Sara is confident and well spoken.