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A New Backpack and A New Beginning

Pedro with his grandmother May 11 2018

Pedro Alvarado, 12 years old, lives in Pacoj Tres Cruces, a remote village in the municipality of San Martin Jilotepeque.

From a very young age Pedro had to go through difficult situations that has deeply affected his life. “My father made a bad decision” said Pedro during his initial interview. “He drank poison and took his life. I was only 3 when he left.”

His mother, shortly after the death of Pedro’s father, abandoned Pedro. Grandma, a widow, became Pedro’s sole caregiver. For his grandmother, caring for and seeing her grandchild grow has been a great blessing. Now 69, Pedro’s grandmother suffers from ailing health. The day we met her she was resting on a bed made only of boards and a blanket.

Grandma has struggled economically all of her life. Pedro, starting from age 7, worked in the fields to earn money to buy food, clothes, and pay for a few school expenses. Pedro has some aunts and uncles but they do not help him or his grandmother.

Starting school in January this year was difficult for Pedro since he did not have money for his school supplies and uniform.  As the days went by, Pedro realized the expenses were more than he could earn working in the fields. He decided to reach an agreement with the teachers to pay Q5.00 (60 cents) every week to pay for his uniform and supplies. Upon realizing his situation, one of his teachers, Fredy Tun, decided to look for a scholarship for Pedro because he saw that even though he worked, he was one of the best students with an average of 80%.

In February, we met Pedro and Fredy. Pedro was holding a photo of his grandmother, clearly expressing love for the only one who has cared for him. We listened to Pedro tell his story and express how he wanted so desperately at attend school.

It was a privilege for me to see the joy on Pedro’s face when he learned he would receive a scholarship and be able to fulfill his dreams.  I will never forget him because I realize what a life-changing impact I have on children who so desperately want to go to school.  He received a new backpack that day – maybe a symbol of a new beginning for him and an example of never giving up.

Pedro with his teacher Fredy. Pedro is holding his grandmother’s photo.

Submitted by

Telma Estrada, Psychologist

Manager, Scholarship Program