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Women’s Month: Arma Arzu Divas

HighlightsWomen’s Month: Arma Arzu Divas

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 23, 2023

As we continue celebrating women for the month of March, this week we want to highlight one of our female engineers, Arma Arzu Divas.

Divas was born and raised on Vernon Street in Lake Independence, Belize City, with her family of 11. This included her 8 younger siblings and parents, Guillermo Arzu and Bernadette Locario, who were originally from Guatemala and Seine Bight, respectively.

Unfortunately, at 16, her parents separated, leaving her and her 8 siblings with a single and struggling mother.

Locario made every effort to support her kids, working at the Belize City Council for years cleaning the streets of the city as well as selling food on the street sides.

However, according to Divas, when they relocated to Ladyville, all the needs of her family prompted her (Divas) to start developing her own identity.

After completing her primary school education at Epworth Methodist school, she began attending Anglican Cathedral College (ACC).

It was while attending ACC that she discovered her love for technical drawing, which she describes as ironic because she disliked math and physics but loved integrated science. But it didn’t matter how tough it was, she made sure to learn both subjects, allowing her to successfully draw an entire house plan at a young age.

She later moved on to Belize Technical College, where she was able to study Building and Civil Engineering. Her financial situation did not stop her, as she sought financial assistance from Anthony Sylvester, former Cabinet Secretary, as well as from Hon. Cordel Hyde.

She even dedicated her summers at the school to building cabinets, construction projects, as well as plumbing projects for Maude Williams High School, which helped pay for some of her school textbooks and travel expenses.

Her drive later led her to achieve yet another degree: a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, with the help of a scholarship, at the University of CUJAE in Cuba.

Years of hard work, she says, is what helped to further her education.

And as an engineer at Belize Electricity Limited, she received another scholarship and graduated with her Master’s degree in Project Management.

Now with financial assistance from her company, she is working towards completing her second Master’s degree in Applied Electrical Engineering at EADIC Engineering and Business School in Spain, without owing a cent.

Divas did not keep her success to herself. In fact, she has helped each of her 8 siblings in their educational journey, at colleges ranging from Galen University, The University of the West Indies in Barbados, The University of Belize, and Wesley College.

Today, Divas, now a married woman and in her 40s, says that despite her humble beginnings, she has been openly embraced by her colleagues who respect and look out for her.

The fact that she was a female, she says, never stopped her; she didn’t allow it.

Divas has had quite a remarkable journey, one worth recognizing; however, she instead wishes to share her spotlight with other women.

“I would actually want to celebrate the other women. They are the true heroes, because without them I wouldn’t be here. With all the people who assisted me along the way, there were always strong women in the background,” says Divas.

She said she was influenced by a few of her fellow female engineers who have constantly supported and pushed her to face her challenges, but mainly recognizes her mother as the biggest influence in her life.

“I can’t forget the lady who was my major source, my mother, who whooped me up the ladder; I’m not ashamed to say it. I always wanted to have my own way sometimes, but she wouldn’t let me. It was important for her to make sure that we turn out okay,” she said.

Divas’ encouragement to females is simply, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“Some people have the perception that just because you are a female, you’re weak. Hell no! That’s not true. I would encourage them to have an open mind, move towards your goals, and don’t be afraid to ask for your help, because there are a lot of people out here, who actually made it, who are willing to help,” affirms Divas.

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