From Maya heritage to global inspiration: Ana Miriam’s journey of empowerment


Meet Ana Miriam, a 17-year-old Maya Kaqchikel woman from Sololá and MAIA Girl Pioneer who is getting ready to fly to Canada after winning a scholarship with AFS Exchange Programs.

Ana Miriam, who has five sisters, was raised in a family of only women where she learned to be strong and self-confident. “The role of my family in my journey towards education and empowerment has been fundamental, as they have encouraged me to fight for my dreams. They have been my greatest motivation to give my best in my learning process,” shares Ana Miriam.

After first hearing about the AFS Exchange Program at the MAIA Impact School, Ana decided to apply for the scholarship “because I enjoy challenges and taking risks to seize the opportunities that come my way. Also, studying in another country has been one of my greatest dreams since I was a little girl,” shares Ana.

Ana Miriam had to go through a competitive selection process that often tested her resilience. “I have experienced various emotions throughout this process, but I felt very confident in my abilities, and I trusted in them to continue achieving my goals,” she continues.

For Ana Miriam, winning this scholarship opens doors to new opportunities. Also, it inspires her peers and younger generations in her community, demonstrating that young Indigenous women and girls hold a unique power to achieve their most ambitious dreams despite the odds.

Ana Miriam’s story not only celebrates her success, but also reminds us about the importance of amplifying the voices and dreams of Indigenous youth, especially on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. By supporting their aspirations, preserving their cultural inheritance, and advocating for their rights, we lay the foundation for a more inclusive and compassionate world where we can grow stronger together.

“In five years, I see myself as a professional with a stable job. I have many goals I want to achieve, one of which is graduating from university and becoming a political scientist. I envision myself being actively involved in spaces where I can support women’s political participation and improve the educational sector in my community and country. I want to make positive changes in my surroundings,” concludes Ana Miriam.

Now Ana Miriam is ready to take off and build a future on her terms!

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