Grant Status $0 needed

2010-2011 +
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Irma should be overwhelmed by her family and life situation but she's not. Rather she's one of those amazing examples of the indomitable resiliency of the human spirit. In this particular family the father is dead and the mother has developed a serious drinking problem. Effectively this leaves Irma as the substitute parent for her many younger siblings all living in extreme poverty.
She has already overcome significant odds, and was one of the 5% of indigenous girls in Guatemala to finish elementary school. She stopped her schooling for 2 years after finishing primary school, and resumed her education when Starfish offered her a scholarship. She lives in a rural village above Lake Atitlan and is about to enter the 8th grade.
Neither of Irma’s parents had ever attended school, and Irma’s mother was married and a mother by the time she was 15. She is breaking the glass ceiling with every step she takes, and is already the most educated woman in her family.

As a bright and spirited child Irma's grades are excellent and she is unimaginably grateful at her good fortune at obtaining a Starfish scholarship so she can attend secondary school. She is especially gifted in math and enjoys helping the other girls in her mentorship group with their homework.


  • October 2015 Update from Irma!

    Thank you for supporting Irmas education! This October, Irma, age 21, became the first person in her family to graduate from high school. Irma has participated in the Starfish program since 2010, as part of the Luciernagas Triunfadoras mentoring group. Though she faced numerous obstacles throughout her childhood, Irma was determined to receive an education and still hopes to pursue her dream of attending university and becoming a doctor. [img]/images/user/1647_13479920204637971295.png[/img]
  • Video Update from Irma, a Small Business Owner!

    Irma is doing well in school and has become a leader in her community by opening her own business. Her teachers always give very positive reports to the Starfish mentors about her and say that beyond having good grades she gets along with her peers, has many friends and is a classroom leader. She participates in sports like basketball, soccer and gymnastics and she is taking a theater/dance class and has organized a group of the best students to perform some plays. She has a small library/bookstore and is so proud of her accomplishment that she started the first semester of school this year. Copy and paste the url below to see the short video where she gives a tour of her new business:
  • Update from Irma

    Irma successfully completed her first year of secondary school, and continues to pioneer a new path among the women in her family. Marilena, Irma’s mentor, reports that Irma continues to confront and overcome the daunting obstacles in her path. In addition to passing all of her classes and becoming the first woman in her family get to secondary school, Irma thrived in her weekly mentorship sessions. Irma was the beneficiary of an Empowerment Scholarship from Givology followers. Starfish students meet weekly with a 15-member peer group. In addition to providing important academic support, these 3-hour sessions also equipped Irma with an awareness of her rights, an ability to manage her personal finances, awareness of her body and reproductive system, how to think critically and communicate assertively, and how to access community resources. Irma now has her own personal savings account where she manages her scholarship funds. Irma still faces a long road. Her mother’s abuse of alcoho...