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Working to Reduce Maternal and Infant Deaths and Improve the Quality of Life for Women and Children in Latin America

Midwives often act as patient advocates as well as care providers

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"I want girls to see that they learn skills and get ahead...."


Meet María García Hernández, one of our outstanding young leaders from the community of Iwiltic, Chiapas who became a GPA intern in 2018. Maria is 20 years old, and speaks Tzeltal and Spanish. She is the 4th child from a family of 9 children, and is the first in her family to finish high school.


“Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to study,” explains Mary. “When I was in elementary school, I dreamed about going to high school. But everyone told me it was impossible because it’s difficult, or costs too much, or because I’m a girl. But I was determined. When I finished junior high, I lost my motivation. I thought it would be better to find a job, and I began working in a restaurant, but it was a difficult experience. I realized I wanted something better. I returned to my community and began studying. Going to high school was very important for me, because I learned many things. It doesn’t matter if the school building needs repairs, or if you have to learn under a tree, the important thing is to learn. My teachers taught me a lot. Professor Juan Carlos always encouraged me, saying, ‘you are a smart student, you can do it, don’t get discouraged.’


The internship at GPA came as a surprise. The opportunity meant I could gain more skills and prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing things. Since I began working there, I have learned how to facilitate a workshop, how to work with other people, with midwives, with young people. I’m learning to be an interpreter and now I’m learning about how organizations collaborate to be effective. I like working with young people a lot because I can identify with them and I want them to see that they can do this. I want girls to see that they can learn skills and get ahead, not just the guys. I understand their doubts because I had them myself.


Before I worked at GPA, I thought I wanted to study law but now I am interested in health; I’m not sure if I want to be a midwife because the responsibility frightens me a bit.”


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Contact Us

Global Pediatric Alliance

P.O. Box 640046

San Francisco, CA  94164









Photos courtesy of Marcella Spera, Monica

Jarosz, Nikhol Esteras, and Stacey Ramirez

GPA's Mission


Global Pediatric Alliance seeks to promote grassroots empowerment and improve child and maternal health by providing educational, technical, and financial support for community-based health projects in Latin America.

Copyright © 2014 Global Pediatric Alliance

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