In late 2007 and early 2008, Ajb'atz' Enlace Quiche offered an improved training option for young micro-business operators in rural Guatemala, reaching 100 people.
This new course, "Technifying my Business" teaches computer skills to micro-business operators using practical activities, such as creating fliers, business cards, and inventories. This course was developed as part of the Lanz@ project led by the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica and funded by IDRC (Canada). Donations made to the Enlace Quiche scholarship program through Global Giving helped this course reach additional micro-business operators in the Quiche region.
Ajb’atz’ Enlace Quiché’s scholarship program continues to expand each year, with 80 percent of students currently enrolled now receiving scholarships. Thanks to the ongoing support of our partners and donors, during the April-June 2007 quarter, 439 of Enlace’s 549 students were part of the scholarship program – an increase of over 20 percent since this period last year.
Enlace’s scholarship program is targeted at those who can benefit most from the education and training that we provide, and those who are least able to afford this themselves. For this reason, the majority of Enlace’s scholarship students are teachers, public school students and rural indigenous youth. Currently, courses with the highest percentage of students on scholarships are those which fall into the Internet and computing skills category; most of these courses take one year to complete.
In Enlace’s new English programs for adults and children – both of which were launched in January 2007 – there were a total of 60 students enrolled during the second trimester. Just under half of these students were on scholarships.
Twenty-nine year-old Gladys Marisela Lux López is one scholarship student currently undertaking English studies at Enlace. Gladys is an indigenous Mayan who has lived in Santa Cruz del Quiché her entire life. She is presently working for the Ministry of Work and Social Prevision in the Regional Seat of Quiché, a public institution which oversees changes made to industrial relations laws and protects the rights of workers. In addition to her English studies and full-time work, Gladys is also completing her thesis so that she can graduate from university with a Master’s in Business Administration.
For Gladys, studying English is important because she feels it will “increase her knowledge and enable her to communicate with other people”. She believes learning English will also help her to “feel more at ease using technology, and to find other opportunities for work and study”.
“I believe that it [studying English] could help me to find new opportunities at work and help me with my research, as nowadays you can research everything on the Internet but most times the instructions are written in English. It [Learning English] could also increase my opportunities to gain a scholarship to study outside of my country.”
Since 2004 Enlace has collected over US $80,000.00 for scholarships, which have helped transform the lives of more than 1500 people. The scholarship program is therefore making a profound and long-lasting difference to the development of the community. Without the continuing support of our partners and donors, however, Enlace would not be able to provide the educational opportunities that we do for the people of Quiché.
A donation of just US $60.00 can provide a micro-entrepreneur with technology skills to improve his or her business, and US $120.00 can put a disadvantaged youth through an Internet and computer training course, which will prepare them for success in high school.
The USAID/RTI/Alianzas program continues its matching support for the scholarship funds that Enlace Quiché raises, thereby doubling the impact of each Global Giving donation.
Today, Enlace Quiche and USAID signed an agreement to provide scholarships for rural Mayan youth to attend our training programs. USAID will give Enlace Quiche $7,500 in scholarships on the condition that we raise $15,000 in matching funds. This will allow us to reach 700 young men and women during 2006 who otherwise would not be able to receive training. This will be a huge jump from the 159 people who received scholarships in 2005.
USAID further indicated its interest in donating even more to Enlace Quiché, depending on our capability to match the funds in the 2 to 1 ratio they have specified.
We are working to raise the matching funds as quickly as possible from a variety of sources, including Global Giving. Aside from the $5,000 we hope to raise through Global Giving, we are also renewing and strengthening partnership with other organizations that will sponsor youth they work with to attend our programs. Health Unlimited, the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas, and the Taiwanese mission to Guatemala have all pledged to sponsor students during 2006.
So, any donations made to Enlace Quiché through Global Giving will have a multiplier effect thanks to the USAID matching funds.