This is my story. I am María Aguilar and I am from Guatemala. When I decided to come to the United States I never thought I would confront so many obstacles or myself suffer the horrors that so many people go through. I had only seen it on TV, but then I too experienced it. To feel so sad as I saw my two children's faces when they said goodbye to me. It's an image I will never forget. And when I arrived in the United States it was a frightening experience; I had no friends or family around me.
But one day, while chatting with one of my friends, we saw an advertisement on a bus with La Colectiva‘s phone number, so we decided to give them a call. I've been in the United States for 9 months now and I've been part of La Colectiva for the same amount of time. La Colectiva has been a refuge for me where I have learned many good things: like how to take care of my health and how to value myself as a woman. At La Colectiva we can find friendship, support and work since the leaders here always support us at every moment, and help us to lead our lives as women, women who are very valuable.
I think that, as mothers, we have a mission to provide an education for our children and to help them so that once they are young men and women, they have grown and have a better future than we could have ever had. I didn't have a lot of opportunities when I was younger, and for that reason I am fighting for my children, struggling for my children, so that tomorrow they will be leading good lives, because they are the future that will one day lift up our countries and it is for that reason that I am here, to see my children grow up and so they can have and so that they can have the best possible future, something that we did not have.