Hometown: Chimaltenango
Current employment: Attorney at law

What If You Had to Fight
a Culture of Ignorance?

“My neighbors thought middle school and high school were useless.”

Jhony’s Story

Jhony describes his hometown as a clutch of twenty-five huts inhabited by subsistence farmers and their families. It has been slow to modernize—Jhony’s home did not have electricity until 1995. When he was still an infant, his father was murdered over a land dispute, leaving his mother to raise her seven children alone. Jhony’s older siblings dropped out of school and began to work full time on the small plot of land that the family farmed to feed themselves.

While most children from Jhony’s tiny village had no plans to attend school beyond sixth grade, Jhony had an inconceivable dream—to earn a law degree from a university. Throughout his childhood, though, just getting to school would be a challenge. At one point Jhony had to sell his only possession, a pig that his sister had given him years before, so he could buy a bicycle. At the beginning of seventh grade, Jhony was one of four students from his village who rode their bikes for miles to get to school. But the arduous daily journey took its toll, and by the next year, Jhony was making the trek alone.


Jhony’s Impact

“All ITA students have something in common. Because we come from poor families, we are driven to move forward and do something to make Guatemala a better country. We are fighters.”

Since graduating cum laude from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in 2011, Jhony has worked for a well-respected Guatemala City law firm that represents clients in cases involving civil, corporate, and constitutional law. While at UFM, he worked with a number of other ITA law students on community service projects; the team built a library in Jhony’s hometown and paid for two poor students from Guatemala City to attend elementary school. Jhony is a founding member of the group of ITA grads whose project is to provide merit-based scholarships to low-income high school students.