Maria Ines Hernandez Prado is our next pepenadora (garbage collector), a young girl from Colonia Escalerillas in Mexico. Maria smiles a lot and never complains about her fate. “I quit school because I had to help my mother earn money for our family,” says the 16-year-old. And she adds: “I prefer collecting garbage than stealing. We don't do anything wrong and people humiliate us anyway.” The whole family earns 70-100 pesos (about $3-4!) a day. Thanks to the UNAWEZA foundation, Maria Ines gave birth to her son in decent conditions, moved into a new apartment, and soon she will return to study. In the future, she wants to become a lawyer and help other women.
"I WANT TO LEAVE THIS CURSED CIRCLE BEHIND"
“Maria Ines herself came to us for help, because she did not want her child to struggle with the same problems. She wanted to leave the vicious circle behind,” says Carmen, who helps the Wwmen and children from the dump.
We met Maria Ines when Martyna was preparing an episode for the "Woman at the Edge of the World" program. When Maria Ines asked for help from the UNAWEZA Foundation, she was expecting her son's birth, but she could not afford basic examinations or a layette for the child. She lived with her mother and sister and her beloved dog in a small room, without running water and electricity. They decorated it out of things found in the landfill. They live very modestly, but they love and support each other. Despite her young age, Maria Ines seemed very strong to us. She decided to raise her child herself and it was with him in mind that she turned to Carmen for help.
We organized a fundraiser for her at the UNAWEZA foundation to cover the costs of examinations, perinatal care, layettes for the child and the purchase of food, a stove and hygiene products for the nearest future. We asked for PLN 3,000, but the generosity of people who were touched by the story of Maria Ines exceeded our wildest expectations. We collected over PLN 50,000!!!
After consulting Carmen, we proposed to Maria Ines that we would also pay for the annual rent of a new apartment for her and her family from the collected funds, and for the next year we would cover the funds for her and her child's current living expenses. Thanks to this, Maria Ines returns to school. And then - if there are enough people of good will who will accompany her on the way to a better tomorrow - she will be able to finish law studies and help women, which she dreams about very much.
The plan is that we want Maria Ines and her mother Lupita to finally become independent from the need to work in a landfill and open the door to a better future for them.
Maria Ines is to devote herself to learning and caring for her child. There is a long road of education ahead of her. The school she goes to now will take three years, six terms. This is the equivalent of Polish high school, and here Ines will be able to prepare herself in basic subjects and be able to enter college. But just graduating from this school with a higher level certificate will allow her to get a better job in the future.
Lupita was offered a job at the Alianza por la Inclusion Mundial AC Foundation, led by Carmen. She helps her in administrative and organizational matters, mainly on the new project for women from the landfill. She is our main intermediary in contacts and in reaching women from the landfill with information about our project. It will motivate them to take up the challenge and persevere in the pursuit of changing their lives thanks to the opportunity they will get through this project.
As a person who knows the conditions in which these women live perfectly well, and at the same time being an example of the fact that you can get out of this place, she has great potential. We believe that it will be a great inspiration for women who are just entering the path of change and who dream about changing their lives.
Thanks to your support, the UNAWEZA Foundation can take care of Maria Ines, her son and Lupita, and in the future also other women working at the garbage dump in Colonia Escalerillas.
All this is possible thanks to the extraordinary people who joined the TICKET TO BETTER LIFE project.
Join the group of FRIENDS of Maria Ines and other Girls from the landfill.
By changing one person's life, you change the whole world!
TOGETHER WE CAN GIVE THEM WINGS!
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Maria Ines herself came to us for help, because she did not want her child to have to deal with the same problems as she did. She wants to leave the vicious circle of the landfill and ensure a better future for herself and her child. You can help her with that.