“You have to stop going to school because I love you,” Maria Gabriela tried to explain to her three daughters as the crisis intensified this past year. It became unsafe for them to attend school which deeply frustrated this family of driven women. Her oldest, Leisel Massiel, has plans to work in a bank and study English. Seventeen-year-old, Angelica Maria, wants to study accounting. And at age eleven, Hannia Michell, already dreams of becoming a doctor like some of her mother’s cousins. But during the violence and upheaval of this past year, these women were forced to stay home while expenses kept piling up. “It wasn’t even safe to leave the house,” remembers Maria Gabriela.
Maria Gabriela used to work but she lost her job, along with over 350,000 others, when the crisis caused many businesses to close and/or severely cut back. Her husband continues working and trying to maintain the house but does not earn enough. Maria Gabriela has been out applying to numerous places but they all respond the same: “We’re not hiring.”
Now, they are struggling to keep up with the costs of daily life: food, house needs, and clothing for growing girls. With the daughters back in school, education expenses are accumulating again and Maria is desperate to get out of her house and help her husband shoulder the burden. “This has affected us enormously. I am very proactive,” she says. “I am poor, but I am a hard worker and I’m honest.” She believes Fresco Express is a great opportunity for her and she is motivated because they need food, to improve their home, and most of all, she is motivated to provide for her daughters. “What I couldn’t reach, I want them to achieve.”