Category Archives: Education

Katherine’s story – Inspiring change for International Women’s Day

In the run up to International Women’s day 2014, we at Mision México have decided to interview three exceptional young ladies from our family. This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring change’ and these girls certainly do that! First up, Katherine. Also read Dulce and Maria’s stories

Katherine's story


I, Clare McBrien, was lucky enough to interview Katherine in early February. Now 22, she is an intelligent, articulate, passionate young lady studying to be a doctor. She enjoys playing basketball with her dad Alan, (when they play on the same team they always win) and her favourite singer is Shakira. She studies incredibly hard and has the world at her feet!  Thanks to the bravery of her mothers, (she has two) and her own determination, her life has seen a dramatic change.

Originally from El Salvador, the word she used most frequently to describe her experience there was ‘nada’ or nothing. “There was no food, no school, no house, nothing. There everyone is very poor.?  Her childhood was punctuated by experiences of an abusive father, prison-like refuges, sexual harassment and immigrating to Mexico with her mother where continues to fight to get a permanent residency. She moved into Mision México after running away from home and stayed there for 5 years where she thrived.

Now living with her biological family, I asked her what it meant to be a woman in Mexico. She told me it is “a way of life; an opportunity, a blessing and a challenge.? She believes women are “brave, strong, intelligent and loving?; qualities she has seen in both her mothers – Ana, her biological mother, and Pam, her mother at Mision México. “My mothers are my inspiration; they are two completely different women, both with very hard lives.  They have shown me how to overcome difficulties. They cry, and then they get up and keep going.? 

Katherine y Pam 2012

Katherine and Pam in 2012

Katherine on education and faith

Katherine has had to learn this lesson quickly and has done so with remarkable tenacity. When speaking to her it quickly became clear that her life is based upon two core pillars: education and faith.

Katherine and mother Ana

Katherine and mother Ana

Very aware of how lucky she is to live in a country where women are “free?, Katherine studies 6 days a week from 6.30 until 11am and then works is in hospital from 12pm until 10pm. “I am really happy to do it,? she told me “it is great to feel that people trust me.? She learned the value of education from her mother Pam who told her to forget about boys until she had finished school.  In fact, when asked how we can inspire change for the lives of women, it is education she turns to. “Ever since I was a little girl I have seen how intelligent girls are, then I see them fall in love, fall pregnant and leave school. This has to change; they could have a life full of success. Out of all the girls in my high school year, only 5 of us are still in education!? She firmly believes that “education is the most important thing to change the lives of women?.

The second thing that comes across is her faith; faith in God and faith in herself. “Believing is everything?, she told me when I asked her what advice she had for women and girls on International Women’s Day. “You have to have dreams, you have to follow your dreams, and you have to have faith in yourself. Life isn’t easy, there will always be difficult times, but if you believe you can do it then you will.?

Katherine is a young woman that encompasses this year’s International Women’s Day theme. She has overcome great difficulty and experienced profound change in her life thanks to two very special mentors, her own self belief, and education. Three things that we need to insure all young girls have access to if they are to change the world.

Katherine and friend Adrian

Katherine and friend Adrian at medical school

Christmas shopping – love or loathe it?

Christmas 2As the infectious Christmas adverts herald the beginning of the festive season and we begin the count down to turkey dinners, mince pies and Christmas jumpers, the menacing face of Christmas shopping begins to haunt our dreams. Whether you love or loathe it, we all spend hours traipsing around shops looking for that perfect gift for our loved ones. Something that will reflect our love for them and bring them a little slice of joy. All too quickly, however, the opportunity Christmas presents us with to be generous to one another turns into an inconvenient tradition plagued by consumerism. We have that all too familiar moment when we ask ourselves “What do I buy someone who has everything?” For charitable organisations big and small all over the world, the question is often “What do you give to someone who has nothing?”

Indeed Christmas  is a vital time for charities to tap into the holiday’s giving spirit and raise vital funds to care for the most vulnerable in our societies. Hard hitting (often controversial) adverts burst the consumer Christmas bubble so carefully constructed by large corporations and force us to face uncomfortable truths about the world at a time when we want to face inwards to the comfort of our family and friends.

The best gift for Mision Mexico children: Education

At Misión México, Pam and Alan are confronted by the question: “What can we give our 50+ children who started out having almost nothing?” Rather than toys, chocolate and computer games (which would also be gratefully received this Christmas), they decided to put long term investment into their children’s education at the top of their list to Santa last year.

L. R Hector, Griselda, Victor, Lupita, Candy, Tere, Angelica, Yessica, Sammy and Marli

11 students from Miguel Hidalgo College. L to R. Hector, Griselda, Victor, Lupita, Candy, Tere, Angelica, Yessica, Sammy and Marli

Thanks to nine very generous sponsors last Christmas, nine of our children´s school fees and associated costs were covered. This included Katherine’s first year at medical school and Marli’s first year at kindergarten. Enrolling these children in education is the only way we can work towards breaking the poverty cycle and setting these children on the road to reaching their full potential. The immense power of education is well known and we hope one day that all our children will have full time sponsors so they may carry on their education and realise their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers, dancers, surfers.

Thanks you for those who gave a gift this year to Mision Mexico

So as you don your armour and head into labyrinth of your local shopping centre this week let us praise you for giving gifts this year. Let us also thank all of you who you who have generously donated to Misión México this year and indeed those who have responded to our Christmas Appeal already. Thank you to those who have spread the word, gone to our fundraiser events, sent cards, volunteered your time in the UK and/or Mexico visited our website and generally supported Pam and Alan raise a large family. All your gifts have been very gratefully received.


Thanks to her sponsor Katherine started her degree in Medicine having excelled at school. She is one step closer to realising her dream of becoming a doctor.

Marli School

Thanks to her sponsor Marli felt very proud putting on her school uniform for her first day of school.