Telma Sánchez, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Telma shows us the importance of following our dreams! Learn about her story in this edition of our “Staff Spotlight”.

Meet Telma

Hello! My name is Telma Sánchez, my colleagues call me Telma. My personal motto is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

Hello Telma! Tell us what is your position within the FAFG and what tasks do you perform?

I am Project Coordinator within the Department of Programs and Projects. My role is to assist this Department by following through with the project planning to respond to donors, and ensure that projects and donations are executed in accordance with the provisions of the agreements.

How did you become interested in this area?

When I was finishing high school, the topic of International Cooperation caught my attention, although I did not understand it much at the time. I got a hold of a brochure from the School of Political Sciences of the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, which mentioned International Relations and International Cooperation. That is how I began to investigate what the career consisted of. All these years of professional practice have been linked to that moment.

Who inspired you to dedicate yourself to this work?

It was one of my grandmothers. She always gave a lot of humanitarian aid, just like my mom. They were my inspiration to have this social approach.

How long have you been working at the FAFG? What was it like in the beginning?

In June I will celebrate 8 years of working at the Foundation. I remember very well the first day of induction within the FAFG.When I went into the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, I was very impressed by all the work and the processes that are carried out.

Telma Sánchez during the 1st. Anniversay of “Lanscapes of the Memory”

“What I really like is that we can help other people, especially families who are still searching and hoping.” – Telma Sánchez

Can you share with us any anecdotes or memorable experiences from your time working at the FAFG?

Working at the Foundation has given me the opportunity to generate external links and one of them is with the community of Comalapa, where I was in charge of the construction process of the Memorial of the Victims of Forced Disappearance (Landscapes of Memory). On a certain occasion, Don Basilio López’s son was at the memorial in Comalapa, and he approached me because he wanted to know the place where his father was [referring to the FAFG Laboratory], who had just been identified by the FAFG. I spoke with the Executive Director and arrangements were made to finance his and his wife’s trip to our facilities. I accompanied them and it was very impressive because he did not expect all the respectful and dignified treatment that the Foundation gives to the victims. I remember that at one point I saw him crying and it was very special for me to know that all the work we do helps these people.

During your time at FAFG, what have you learned on a personal and professional level?

It has been a continuous learning process. We are an organization that does not stop and is always innovating; there is always something new to learn. Since my first day, I have been learning everything about forensic sciences. I have to understand how each of these disciplines works to play the role within my job. It has been a day-to-day growth.

That ability to constantly innovate has been one of the most important lessons I have learned on a personal level. Also, that we are able to adjust to any change. With the pandemic, we had to adapt to different situations, as humans we are capable of doing so, no matter the circumstances.

What do you enjoy about your job?

What I really like is that we can help other people, especially families who are still searching and hoping. We give them hope because the Foundation is fighting every day to continue the search.

What do you want to contribute or continue contributing to the FAFG?

I know that through the reports, workshops, meetings, and other activities, we reflect the work we do and they are one face of the organization. I would like to continue doing that, because it is a form of accountability and transparency that allows our institutional continuity in view of those who trust us for financing, our donors. And also, continue to provide support from my work and a role for the response to families who continue to search for their loved ones

Mention three words that relate to the Foundation:

I have a personal motto, and I think it also applies to the work and it is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. If we intend to achieve something, with hard work and a lot of effort we can achieve it, and the Foundation is an example of this. Throughout all these years, with a lot of work, the FAFG has managed to position itself where it is.

Any final message for our readers?

If we have a dream, we have to fight for it. Obstacles are not an impediment to achieving them, but they are lessons learned to improve those aspects and be able to achieve those dreams, and as I mentioned “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

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Since 1997, we assist families in the search of their Disappeared loved ones.

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