A Journey to School: Maryuri

A Father's Fear

Maryuri learning at school

Maryuri’s father was afraid that she would meet a boy at school, become pregnant, and drop out. Instead of discussing his fears with his daughter, he demanded that she drop out of school.

“My dad did not want me to go to school because several students age 13 and 14 had got married, fallen pregnant, and left school,” Maryuri says. “He believed I would do the same.”

A Second Chance

Despite her father’s request, Maryuri wanted to continue her studies and begged her mother to help her. Coincidentally, it was around this time that one of her teachers came by the house to find out why she hadn’t been in attendance.

Since Maryuri's father was away on a business trip, the teacher had a long discussion with Maryuri’s mother which revolved around the importance of an education. It was during their discussion that the teacher was able to convince her mother to allow Maryuri to return to school.

Once it was established that Maryuri would be returning to class, they were worried about the cost of the school supplies. However, this was of little importance to her teacher. “The teacher told my mother to send me to school even with three notebooks,” she says.

“When my dad came back to the house, he got very upset and said that if anything happened to me, it would be my mother’s fault, but I gave my word that I would finish high school,” she says. After their discussion, he let her to continue with her studies.

Turning the Tables on the Breadwinner Stereotype in Peru

While Maryuri was attending her new school, Plan introduced a new project that would help students develop and foster their entrepreneurial skills.

One of the activities involved saving money in the school’s bank. Maryuri managed to save seventy-seven dollars in one year. She used her savings to start a small business selling flavored snow cones.

“I rented a small place close to the school to sell my snow cones and bought some ice from the market. On the first day, I managed to sell everything,” she says.

While Maryuri’s business bloomed, her father became ill and was unable to return to work. It was at this point that Maryuri assumed the role of supporting the entire household with a portion of the profits that she earned from her business.

“With the earnings of the snow cones that I sell, I give my mother twenty-seven dollars for food expenses. I have also bought some school supplies. My goal is that in five years, I want to become a great professional, I want to study fashion design, get ahead, and make my parents proud of me," she says.

Maryuri couldn’t be prouder of her decision to persuade her parents to allow her to return to school and says, “I would like to tell parents that it is an absurd idea that girls should not be allowed to study. As for the girls, I would like to tell them to study to succeed in life because, thanks to school, a lot can be learned.”