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Education

This 96-Year-Old Grandma's Goal Is to Finish School Before She's 100

Mexican Guadalupe Palacios Garcia, 96, speaks during an interview at her house in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, state, Mexico on April 18, 2018. Palacios learnt to read when she was 92 through a literacy program and is now in high school.
Moyses Zuniga/AFP/Getty

She needs help walking to class. But once she gets there, there’s no stopping Guadalupe Palacios from achieving her goal. 

That goal? To graduate high school before she turns 100. 

Palacios, 96, was never able to attend school as a child growing up in rural Mexico. But three years ago she decided to enroll in a literacy program — at the age of 92 — and then, once she passed that, a primary school program for adult learners. 

Take Action: Ask More Donors to Step up and Fund the Global Partnership for Education

Now, she’s graduated on to a public high school in the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, and she couldn’t be happier, NDTV reports

“I feel ready to give it my all,” she told NDTV. “Today is a marvelous day,"

Palacios, according to the report, grew up in an indigenous village in Mexico’s Chiapas region. She was never able to attend school because she worked on her family’s farm, where they produced beans and corn. 

As a result, she never learned to read as a child — not uncommon at the time.

According to statistics from Our World in Data, only about one in three people worldwide were literate in 1930, when Palacios would have been about 8 years old. By 2014, more than 85% of the world’s population was literate. 

Read More: This 8-Year-Old Mexican Girl Won a Prize for Making a Solar Heater From Recycled Objects

But in places like Chiapas, where Palacios still lives, gaining access to education remains a challenge. Chiapas, located just north of Guatemala, is the poorest region of Mexico. Nearly one in five people who live there is illiterate — more than double the national average of 7%. 

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Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and quality education is goal number four. You can join us and call on world leaders to fund the Global Partnership for Education here

Today, Palacios is bucking all of the odds — and showing that you can never be too old to get an education. And she says she’s doing it for love. 

“Now I can write letters to my boyfriends," she said.