Norma Guillén Suárez is the youngest of two siblings who were abandoned by their father when she was only three months old. They were raised solely by their mother, who, without formal education, earned a living by washing and ironing clothes and working as a maid for other families. On occasion, she even had to leave little Norma home alone to go to work and support her children. Today, Norma is a teacher at the San Isidro de Bolas School at just 21 years old. She graduated as a Primary Education Teacher and is better known as Miss Normita.
Norma often reflects on how her teachers helped strengthen her self-esteem. She began her primary studies at the San Isidro de Bolas School in 2006 and remembers how difficult it was for her mother to get the supplies her daughter needed to attend school.
In July 2007, when she was in first grade, Miss Normita received her first package of school supplies. She recalls the happiness that bloomed on her mother’s face when she picked up the package, and remembers even more clearly her mother’s words at that moment: "Now you really have no excuse to finish the school year and be a good student."
An Inspiring Journey Driven by Aprender y Crecer
For her six elementary school years, Norma received school supplies from Aprender y Crecer, and she still keeps the books she was given during the school’s book fairs. The program cultivated her enjoyment of reading; as her academic talents grew, she felt inspired and gradually discovered her desire to become a teacher.
In 2021, Norma earned a university degree as an elementary school teacher. Thanks to her excellent grades, she received several offers to work at private schools when she finished her studies. But Norma only desired to return to her childhood school, where she discovered her love of learning and became inspired to pursue a career in teaching.
Miss Normita began her career in February 2022 as a 5th-grade teacher at the San Isidro School, where students still benefit from Aprender y Crecer just as she did.
“Getting my first packet from Aprender y Crecer as a teacher was really exciting. It reminded me of the packages I received as a student, and I received it with tears in my eyes. I was especially grateful because I had not yet received the first payment from my school to purchase my own supplies.”
Norma’s Hard Work Has Paid Off, and Now She Reaps Her Rewards!