All month long, we’ve been highlighting notable Latin American women in honor of Women’s History Month. Today I’d like to share a story I recently came across about a young woman who is not famous (not yet, at least) but whose achievements are nothing short of exceptional, and utterly inspiring. Katia Gomez went to Honduras as a college student in 2009 to volunteer with Global Brigades, where she spent a week digging water trenches in a remote community. While there, she was struck by the lack of education among the area’s young women and girls. She felt that, though the water project was completed, her work there was not yet done. Gomez returned to Honduras the following year, spending a week in the community of Pajarillos. In addition to the volunteer project she went for, Gomez spent time interviewing teachers, students, parents and young women about the state of education in their region. She found that no girl there had ever graduated from middle school or attended high school, instead stopping their educations after the sixth grade to start having babies. She also found that the nearest high school was a three-hour walk from the town. What happened next is simply amazing. The 24-year-old Gomez assembled a team of volunteers and, with the help of a few partnerships, established the town of Pajarillos’ first high school. She created a non-profit called Educate2Envision, which focused on the foundation of the school, and ensuring that girls would stay in school by implementing support programs for girls of all ages. Gomez has not only created the town of Pajarillos’ very first high school class, but has also begun working with other communities in Honduras, with a focus on educating girls who are at risk of dropping out due to pregnancy. On her non-profit’s website she states, “We believe educating the future mothers of the world will give future generations a chance of reaching their full potential.”
The impact of investing in girls’ education has been well documented. The Global Partnership for Education created an infographic to celebrate International Women’s Day just a few weeks ago, in a blog post which stated that, “Educating girls has benefits not just for themselves but also for their families, communities and countries. With a quality education, girls can help improve their country’s social and economic well-being.” As Women’s History Month winds to a close, let’s acknowledge and celebrate those, like Katia Gomez, who are doing something to benefit women’s futures.