Empower a Dream: Lesly’s Quest to Escape the Cycle of Poverty

Becci MerrittBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

María Lesly Dayana: An Aspiring Attorney

Living in the farming village of Los Angeles in Guatemala’s Ixil region, eighth grader María Lesly Dayana juggles adversity and ambition daily. Despite hailing from a low-income family, Lesly is fiercely determined and dreams of getting an education to escape the cycle of poverty. With dreams of becoming an attorney, she aspires to combat injustice, inspired by the unfairness she has witnessed in her community. She said she has seen people be accused of things they have not done.

Every day, Lesly grapples with hardships that most of us can’t even imagine. Her father works in a metal roofing factory in a town three hours from home, Santa Cruz del Quiché, and can only afford the time and cost of the journey home once or twice a month. Lesly helps her mother care for her three younger siblings—5-year-old Isabel, 11-year-old Juana, and 2-year-old Pedro Abisai. Even while helping her mother at home, Lesly works hard on her studies at Nicolás Christian School (NCS). Nicolás Christian School strives to deliver a high-quality, full-day educational program – a rarity in a region like the Ixil. 

Faith, Hope, and Nicolás Christian School

Lesly’s faith plays a crucial role in her life. She said that God spoke to her to tell her that she would have the opportunity to attend NCS. Lesly said that a particular class she is taking at NCS on Christian leadership has really deepened her spiritual connection to God. Specifically, she learned more about God and how to pray. As a result, God has become more real to Lesly because of this class. The school’s full-day regime, while initially challenging, is no longer a problem for Lesly. She said that a recent move to a later start time in the school day has helped her to focus better at school. The strategic scheduling move at NCS was made to improve student productivity. 

Lesly draws inspiration from her parents, specifically her mother’s zeal for education. Her parents did not have a good education, and Lesly said they suffered because of their illiteracy. When Lesly was three years old, her mother gave her a book called Victory: First Book of Reading and Writing. Lesly’s mother was committed to helping her daughter obtain a good education, even as a preschooler. Her mother, Manuela, is now partially literate. Lesly aids her mother, a church worship band member, in understanding the lyrics of praise music and bridging language gaps with the aid of a Spanish dictionary. Lesly is passing on the gift of her education to her parents and siblings. 

The Power of Philanthropy in Lesly’s Journey

Aided by the philanthropic generosity of people like you, Lesly is blossoming at NCS. A standout moment for Lesly was winning the December 2023 school Duolingo contest. She clocked an impressive 160 hours learning English on the phone app, leaving her closest competitor far behind! Her parents’ dreams of seeing her as an “independent, professional” young woman are fast becoming a reality.

But Lesly needs your help to continue on this path. Your generous donation can safeguard Lesly’s education and help her fulfill her dream of becoming an attorney. Help Lesly take a step further in her journey towards providing justice in her community and breaking the cycle of poverty. With your contribution, we can create a world where children like Lesly are no longer defined by their circumstances but by their God-given dreams and potential. 

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