Help Aura Hernandez Complete Her University Education!

For: Aura Yesenia Solis Hernandez
Guatemala City, Guatemala, Guatemala
Organizer: Kristen Palana
Help Aura Hernandez Complete Her University Education! (Aura Yesenia Solis Hernandez)
of $800 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 18 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Could this be the world's longest-running (successful) crowdfunding project?
After 12 years of making the impossible possible, it's time to finish what we started by helping Aura GRADUATE with a university education so she can teach children in her community and support her family. Together we can ensure that Aura can remain in school in 2016 and graduate in July of 2017.

Aura Hernandez is a hardworking college student defying all odds. She comes from a village in Guatemala where most people survive on $1 USD a day and where education only goes up to the eighth grade. Thanks to the power of crowdfunding and the internet though, her secondary school studies and a teaching certificate were funded, and she's now a junior in university studying Environmental Science.

Aura's just a few semesters away from graduating from university but without our help, all her hard work will have been in vain.

I first started sponsoring Aura in 2003 when she was 9 years-old and living in a mud home that leaked during the rainy season with her family and many siblings.

However thanks to our partners and donors through my grassroots fundraising website Aura's House, $4500 was raised to build Aura's family a safe and sturdy brick home in 2004. In fact our first house project for Aura was so successful, additional funds raised furnished the home, provided a new kitchen area and stove, and even desks for the village's elementary school!

To bring Aura's happy experiment with the power of crowdfunding full circle, we need to raise just $800 to cover Aura's final three university semesters and her graduation ceremony.

That is $238.43 per semester and a little extra for the graduation ceremony. (See the image gallery for the exact cost break-down.) Any money raised over our goal will go towards Aura's education expenses and to her family's most essential living needs. All money raised, as always goes directly to Children International of Kansas City, MO. who will ensure the tuition bills are paid and the money goes to where we say it will.

Aura, age 22 is also the mother of a one year-old daughter named Brittany whom she raises with the help of her family while she continues to work as a teacher and complete her education. As you can imagine, this is no easy task but Aura does her best each day with poise and grace.

Research and statistics have proven over and over again that the more education a woman has, the better off her children and entire family are. By helping Aura graduate from university you are helping her young daughter, Aura's entire family, as well as Aura's community in the village of Villa Canales who all benefit immensely from having a qualified and well-educated teacher to further give hope and opportunities to its children.

This is an excerpt from a 2014 article written by Children International, the main partner I've worked with since 2003 to ensure Aura gets to have a brighter future:

"It’s pitch-black when Aura leaves home at 4:30 a.m. She sets off on a brisk hike down the steep dirt roads that lead to the bus stop in her remote village. She moves quickly to catch the early bus to Guatemala City.

It’s Saturday, and most of her friends are still asleep. All is quiet except for the occasional rumble of the nearby Pacaya Volcano.

Aura would rather be in bed. After a busy week teaching first grade to local schoolchildren, a break would be nice. But she doesn’t have a moment to spare. She’s working her way toward a degree at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, the oldest, most prestigious university in the country."

- See more at:

As you can imagine, it would be almost criminal (in my opinion) not to try to fund this hardworking girl’s college education considering how little it costs for someone used to seeing 5 digit yearly tuition fees in the USA. My goal (and that of my Aura's House partners) is to fund Aura’s last semesters of university and ensure she can graduate. She has come so far. We can't stop now.

Thanks in advance for your support and for all you’ve done to not only help Aura get a new home, but to give her the opportunity to study and realize her dreams. I am eternally grateful for all who have helped and will continue to be forever grateful for anything you can give now to help us finish Aura's education project. As the years have proven time and time again, every bit helps, even $1.

Please make a gift (large or small) and also share this project with your family and friends! THANK YOU!

Best wishes,
Kristen Palana

Aura's Former Children International Sponsor
Founder: Aura's House
Artist | Educator | Author:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 16, 2016

Posted on January 16, 2016

Aura's Tuition= PAID! (Thanks to you!)

Good morning and happy weekend!

I just received an update from Vickie Weidenmann at Children International to myself and my partners at Aura's House and thought I would share it with you, the donors who helped ensure that Aura could finish her education.

She writes:

"Subject: RE: Aura's University Payment and Thank You

Good morning (or afternoon??), Kristen … and Happy New Year to you as well.  The New Year has started off incredibly busy – which is a good thing for all of our children around the world!  My special wishes to you and your family (and all of our friends from Aura’s House!) that 2016 will be filled with many blessings for you all. 

Thanks so much for sending us the $520 donation … $50 of which is earmarked for Jonathan and $470 earmarked for Aura’s continued education.  We’ve already transferred the $835 to Guatemala (which includes Mike and Anastasia’s gifts). Thank you SO much for your continued love and commitment to Aura and your hopeful dreams for her future.  She is such a fortunate young woman to have you in her life, Kristen.

We will be sure to keep you posted on her progress at the university; it’s been an enormous treat for me to watch her grow and become the young lady she is today.  And, it’s all thanks to you and your wonderful friends and associates at Aura’s House.

Thank you again – ALL OF YOU!!! – for being such great friends to each other, to all of us at Children International, and most importantly, to all of the children in our program. 


-And I echo her thanks to all of you. THANKS for helping a young woman you've never met in a faraway place help herself and her community through the power of education. May your generosity come back to you x1,000.

Kristen Palana

Posted on January 7, 2016

Posted on January 7, 2016

Happy 2016! I just wanted to let you all know that I just sent the payment to Children International for the online donations for Aura's last three semesters of university and graduation expenses. (I'll add the images to the project gallery today as well.) Offline donations were already sent separately to Children International.

I'll continue to post photo and text updates as I receive them regarding Aura's progress at university. I also would like to invite you to continue to keep up with me at my Facebook and Twitter pages to learn more about special crowdfunding projects, books, online courses, design goodies, and more. And if YOU happen to be creating or launching your own crowdfunding project soon, as a free gift to all donors I will be happy to send you a complimentary PDF of my book that promises to help you be successful and meet your goal, Crowdfunding Confidential. Just send me a message via my website to get it.

Thanks again to all who helped Aura's dreams stay alive.

Best wishes and may 2016 be your best year yet!


Posted on December 27, 2015

Posted on December 27, 2015

Thanks so much for successfully raising enough for Aura's last year of tuition!

I just returned from traveling for two weeks in Ethiopia (teaching animation to MFA students) and am now celebrating the holidays with family in Germany.

Once I return to Rome (Jan. 2) I will forward the online donations to Children International and they will organize all the logistics for paying Aura's last three semesters of university expenses plus costs associated with her graduation. They already received the offline and direct donations and I got in touch with them once the project successfully funded.

I'd just like to thank everyone, both this time around and over the years for helping Aura achieve her dreams and furthering her education well beyond what she could have done alone.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and all the best for 2016!

Best wishes!

Kristen Palana

About the Organizer

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