“Do not confuse capital letters with lowercase letters,” María Mercedes tells Katherine and Nareylis, her two young daughters, six and eight years old respectively. Like many of you, she has become a teacher in her own home with remote help from the teachers at her daughters’ school.
Maria Mercedes’ motivation to educate her little ones is to ensure that they have a good future. “I want my daughters to have their careers, to be someone in life since I couldn’t,” she says. She reached the sixth grade of primary school and had to drop out because her family did not have enough resources to continue sending her to school. Since, then, she stayed at home helping with household chores. She now has two daughters and now that they are in school, she helps them with their homework and reminds them that education is the best tool for a better future.
María Mercedes’ father supports her with the household chores while she sits with the girls, reviews their notebooks, and helps them with the exercises. As she talks to them about how important it is to study, both girls get excited and promise her they will succeed. Nareylis laughs and says that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. The proud mother is excited to know that her words are having an effect.
“When I don’t know how to explain their homework, I go to the teacher and she explains it to me so that I can explain it to my daughter because sometimes she (Nayrelis) starts crying when she doesn’t understand. I tell her that I don’t start crying when I don’t understand something and that all you have to do is ask for help,” says María Mercedes enthusiastically.
In addition to being an excellent teacher for her daughters, María Mercedes is an active participant in school activities, helps cook school meals, and takes care of the school’s garden. Thanks to the workshops and training she has received through the project Nourishing the Future, she has also established a family garden. When water is not in short supply, she grows tomatoes, peppers, and beans. She has also learned how to make soy-based foods.
María Mercedes’ goals include ensuring that daughters continue with their schooling and obtaining all the knowledge she can from the Nourishing the Future project in order to put it into practice to benefit her family.
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