Odalis lives with her grandmother, Doña Aurora, in a two-room brick house near our Luis Amigo sponsor site in Guatemala. Now 22-years-old, Odalis loves to read and play soccer with her friends.
Since her Odalis was small, Aurora always dreamt her granddaughter would complete her studies and have a future full of opportunities. But Aurora had difficulty affording the cost of education, food and other daily needs. Thankfully, a Chalice sponsor chose Odalis in 2010. Through their support, Odalis could thrive in her studies, and look ahead to university.
But the cost of pursuing higher education has made it inaccessible to most Guatemalan youth, especially those from low-income families. Their lack of higher education makes it harder to find employment, and the cycle of poverty continues.
The Sisters who run the Luis Amigo site couldn’t bear to see gifted students like Odalis kept from higher learning because of the costs. So, in 2017, with the help of Chalice supporters, they created a program that would change the lives of bright young students. Through a rigorous process, the site staff selected a small group of high-performing students for extra assistance to continue their education. This included tutoring, mentoring and financial aid.
Odalis was thrilled to learn she’d been selected. The local university accepted her into their Business Administration program, and her dreams were coming true. Her studies went smoothly, until the global pandemic shut down all schools and plunged Champerico into further economic crisis. But the Luis Amigo staff were determined this setback would not disrupt Odalis’s progress. They came to her home and brought a full set of materials to allow her to learn from home, and ensured her access to a computer lab so she could connect with virtual lectures and workshops.
Despite the obstacles, Odalis completed her sixth semester courses, covering mathematics, management theory, and economics. To give back to the Luis Amigo site, Odalis gave a presentation in a workshop for sponsored youth, encouraging them to say no to drugs and persevere in their education.
Odalis is filled with “gratitude and joy” for the Chalice donors who supported the Sisters’ initiative. They’ve helped her step towards “her great dream of being a prepared woman, an important pillar in her family and in her community,” the staff write. She extends her “sincere thanks and abundant blessings.”