'Daughters and Mothers' explores the emerging differences in the lives of indigenous Mayan young women and their mothers due to the teenagers' education. In a region of Guatemala where less than a third of the rural indigenous women are literate, this group of young women will be the first in their families to graduate high school.
As rural women become more educated and enter the formal economy, their societal role changes. The student has less time to help her mother with domestic chores and the rearing of younger siblings. Income is lost for the family because the girl is in school and not in the work force. Yet her education is a key step out of poverty for her family and her community; upon graduation, she will continue living at home and become a provider for her entire family.
The teenagers that I have been documenting all live in the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan. They attend different schools, but are all recipients of scholarships from Starfish One by One, a mentoring and scholarship program in the region. The program employs indigenous Mayan women from the region as mentors. These mentors have faced the same social and economic challenges as the girls and have succeeded and graduated high school. With support from their mentors and peers, the girls are working towards their diplomas, and ultimately, a better way of life for their families and communities.