Petrona Bernal is a 19-year-old farmer’s daughter currently studying in the bilingual secretariat track at “Colegio Molina Castillo” high school in Santa Maria Nebaj. Growing up with five brothers and sisters on her family’s farm has not always been easy. “My family is poor; over the years we have struggled a lot,” Petrona shares. “But, thanks to my dad’s work, the little he earns has brought my family forward, and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to continue studying.”
Agriculture is the main source of income for Petronas’s family. Her father owns his own land and faithfully plants corn, beans, and other crops as well as raises livestock to generate income and meet the family’s basic needs. He has provided a house with a concrete slab roof, two bedrooms, one kitchen, and all the basic services such as piped water and a latrine in perfect condition. In spite of his hard work and success, however, with six children there was not enough to make the monthly payments necessary to put Petrona through high school.
Through the generous gifts of FH donors, however, Petrona has been able to take advantage of the many of the groups and activities offered in her community. Now Petrona’s parents feel supported and safe that their daughter will have a bright future.
“FH has taught me to fight for my dreams and never give up. Nowadays I have applied it a lot in my life because I want to become a lawyer in order to help people to fight for their rights and thereby achieve a fairer and more equitable society,” Petrona says.
“I am very grateful to FH ... I wish with all my heart that each of the [supporters] are very well and that God bless them greatly in each of the areas of their lives.”
Throughout her growing up years, Petrona has been supported by FH staff through various programs in her community. “I have always had low self-esteem and been very shy,” she shares. “But through FH trainings, I changed my way of being and thinking, because they always talk to us about God’s love for us, and that he created us in his image and likeness. I have learned a lot from FH and they have been an unconditional support to me, especially in my spiritual life because I have always been taught to trust God at all times despite the difficulties that sometimes we suffer as a family. Now I feel sure of myself.”
Through nine years of partnership with FH, the families in Xonca have become more personally convinced of the benefits of education and are working hard to ensure their sons and daughters can complete their high school degrees.
Want to change a life like Petrona's? Sponsoring a child is one way you can ensure children receive the support they need.