WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW WITH MARITZA PUCHA? Maritza is now entering her 10th and final semester as a student in the Clothes Design program at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoctial (UTE). She has been a terrific student, getting among the best grades of all our students. She also earned a substantial scholarship by singing in the university chorus for several years. She should graduate in September. Maritza’s home life has been difficult for the last two years as her mother battles cancer.
Maritza Pucha’s parents came to Quito in the early 1990’s with three small children and one suitcase. They were looking for a better life and opportunities than they had in Loja, a province in the far south of Ecuador. They soon joined the Working Boys’ Center, a Jesuit mission to the poor where Maggie and Mike have served as volunteer teachers for much of the past decade. Their youngest daughter Maritza worked as a shoeshine girl to help bring more money into the family. Maritza went to the school at the Center and flourished as a student. She graduated with highest marks in the Center’s industrial sewing program, and then continued on until she graduated from a high school which furthered her technical training. (She was a classmate of another of our students, Lorena Cañar.)
After graduating from high school, Maritza decided to enter the Clothes Design program at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial (UTE), which is the best program in Ecuador. Although she had been one of the best students in her high school, she could not pass UTE’s entrance exam, because it covered material that she had not had the opportunity to study in high school. She chose instead to go to another university which had a similar program. During the second year of her study in this program, the Ministry of Education of Ecuador closed Maritza’s university, along with 28 other universities, that had not met the government’s standards. However, it offered students in these universities the opportunity to transfer to similar programs if they could be accepted, with the promise that the government would be pay any difference in tuition levels. So, Maritza decided to transfer to UTE; she was accepted, because she had done very well at her previous university and she was willing to retake a semester of her program.
But financial problems then arose, because the additional costs of classes and materials at UTE were considerably higher. Here is where David’s Fund entered the picture. We have known Maritza for some time, because she is studying in the same program with Lorena Cañar and also is a friend of several of our students. We also knew that she was very highly regarded by teachers in the Working Boys’ Center when she studied there. So, after talking with Maritza’s parents, we came to the decision that it would help Maritza and her family a great deal if David’s Fund paid the remaining part of her tuition. This amounts to about $750 a semester, and we began to do this in spring semester of 2014. Maritza is doing extremely well as a student. She also is a member of the university chorus at UTE, which gives her an additional reduction in tuition. So, in this case, a little help is going a very long way.