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Rosa Baquin is 17 years old and dreams of becoming a pediatrician one day. She lives in the small village of Monte Marcedes, where crude adobe houses and crop fields constitute the rural landscape. When Rosa was just two years old, her parents Luciano and Macaria sent her to live with her uncle and aunt because they had fewer children and would be able to provide her better care. Instead of being one of nine siblings, Rosa became one of six. She grew up believing that her uncle and aunt were her parents, and describes feeling "very confused and hurt" when she learned the truth at 7 years old. However, Rosa now considers her life with her relatives to be a gift. "If I had stayed with my real parents, I wouldn't have made it so far in school. My uncle has given me financial support that my other siblings never got."

Like many in the indigenous population, neither Rosa's parents nor uncle or aunt went to school. They speak Kaqchikel, a native Mayan tongue, and very little Spanish. Rosa's uncle and father are agricultural workers and her mother and aunt are housewives.

In every way, Rosa has defied cultural expectations by finishing the 6th grade and deciding to pursue a university degree. She first learned about Starfish from her primary-school teacher, who identified her as a strong candidate based on her work ethic and enthusiastic class-participation. Rosa visited the Solol office with her uncle, interviewed with Starfish staff, and was accepted to the program. This January marked the beginning of her 3rd year as a Girl Pioneer.

Rosa is currently in her 2nd year of "Diversificado" schooling and is studying to earn a bachelor's degree in teaching. This will enable her to find a teaching job after graduating and save up for university. Rosa is a bright and determined student, who doesn't let the many challenges in her life discourage her from reaching her goals. However, "financial costs are a constant obstacle" for Rosa. She depends on monetary support from Starfish to pay for school, school-supplies, transportation to the Solol office, and the mentorship program. The latter has been hugely impactful on Rosa and helped her transform into the confident, optimistic, and persevering young lady that she is today. Rosa is one of 15 girls in the "Sirenas" group, who attend weekly Empowerment sessions with their mentor Jeronima. The mentoring program addresses self-advocacy, financial literacy, reproductive health, leadership, and critical thinking.

Rosa reflects, "The Starfish program is a beautiful thing for me, because our mentors teach us things that we might not learn in our homes or in school. Jero is a great mentor because she genuinely cares for all of us and shares her life experiences. We can tell her our problems, and even if she doesn't have a solution, she always gives us advice and encouragement."

This money will cover Rosa's school and mentoring costs for a year, and push her one step further towards her attaining her dream.