Today was the big day for the students at the Comadrona School of POWHER, the commencement they’ve been working toward for over three months. Graduation was held at Santiago’s town center, where students gathered with their families cheering them on.
Greeting each other warmly as new friends and colleagues, they filed into the building and took their seats at the front of the room. The ceremony kicked off with Saving Mothers’ Guatemala Program Director Jessica Oliveira addressing the audience, explaining how incredibly far each of the 22 students has come since they started at the School, and how much they have meant to her and the organization. Saving Mothers is so fortunate to be working with community members who will make sustainable change in Santiago for years to come.
Oliveira was followed by Dr. Juan Chumil, the Medical Director of the Centro de Salud in Santiago, and Dr. Diego Hernandez, District Director for the Ministry of Health — both men expressing how much the entire community supports and appreciates the graduates’ hard work, and how much of a difference they will make for the women who live in Santiago.
Program Director Jessica Oliveira greeting her students and their families before the ceremony began.
The students took their seats in their Saving Mothers uniforms at the front of the room as their families and friends looked on behind them. Volunteers from one of Saving Mothers’ partners in Santiago, the Centro de Salud, provided amazing decorations to celebrate the occasion.
Several of the graduates were supported by their children, reminding everyone of the importance of safe, healthy and happy births.
Then the moment all the graduates had been waiting for arrived. One by one, they walked across the stage to receive their certificates of graduation — marking the end of long, challenging weeks of classroom and clinical training, and the beginning of their careers as local health providers. It was incredible to see each one of them turn to the audience, certificate in hand, having not only gained knowledge, but also confidence in their experience and skills.
Each graduate gave their instructor a big hug as they accepted their certificate to a resounding round of applause from the audience and Saving Mother staff members seated on stage.
The very first class of graduates from the Comadrona School of POWHER. We couldn’t be more proud of them, or excited to see what they will make possible for the community of Santiago in the future.
As a surprise, students presented Oliveira and Saving Mothers President Nichole Young-Lin and Medical Director Taraneh Shirazian with certificates of their own to thank them for their commitment to the program, the curriculum, and making the school possible. All of the Saving Mothers staff in attendance was floored by their gratitude.
After the ceremony it was party time, with delicious food catered by a local restaurant, children skipping around the room, music, and laughter. The graduates enjoyed well-deserved congratulations.
It was truly an exceptional day, full of emotion, pride and excitement for what is possible in this community as the program grows and evolves.
With our very first class from the School of POWHER already making a remarkable impact in the local area, we are currently working on making a second class possible. But we can’t do it alone.
You can be a part of the school of POWHER. Click here to support the program today, and your contribution will go directly toward educating a future comadrona who can make lasting change for many.