On this fifth annual International Day of the Girl Child, we join in calling attention to global efforts to ensure equality, offer opportunities and provide safe environments for the world’s 1.1 billion girls, so they may grow up happy, healthy and ready to meet the future.
For this observance, we highlight one girl’s story and her future goals.
With her warm smile and sparkling brown eyes, it might seem as if Gilberta’s had a carefree childhood.
But at the tender age of 9, she’s had to overcome a lot.
Gilberta, her two older sisters and mother face poverty with courage. Her mother, Cristina, earns about $45 a month handwashing clothes for people in their community in Guatemala.
“My mom works very hard for us,” Gilberta said. “She gets up very early and she is always the last to go to sleep.”
Their biggest struggle, though, has been moving forward without a father in the home. Cristina said her husband was an alcoholic who became violent when he drank, and after 20 years of marriage left the family for another woman. Still, it’s been hard without him.
“The most difficult situation is facing the fact that my husband left us alone,” she said.
Witnessing domestic violence in her home motivated Gilberta to want to be a lawyer when she grows up.
“My teacher told us that a lawyer helps people get out of jail, and they also put them in jail if they are not good,” she said. “I want to help women like my mother so that their husbands don’t hurt them.”
Cristina is optimistic that her daughter can realize her educational goals.
“I am hopeful that Gilberta can reach her dreams,” Cristina said. “I will be by her side for as long as God can give me life and good health.”
Cristina appreciates that Gilberta’s sponsor, Carrie in Illinois, and the local Unbound staff have also been by her daughter’s side for more than three years now.
While the family has chosen to use sponsorship benefits for home improvements, food, clothing and other needs, it’s the support for Gilberta’s education that Cristina values most.
“Working and fighting for your children’s education is a priority, and we [parents of sponsored children] appreciate the help that we get from our sponsors to help us pursue our children’s dreams,” she said.
For Gilberta’s part, she’s still very much the little girl but one with a goal in mind.
“I am in second grade, I love school and I get good grades.” she said. “I never fail to do my homework. My favorite color is purple, my favorite food is rice, and I love cats.”
About her goal and future plans, Gilberta is specific.
“I dream of having a law office in Sololá [state capital] and helping people,” she said.
Help girls like Gilberta reach their dreams. Sponsor today.