At the March Kateri Tekakwitha Fund scholarship meeting, Juana Cun, 2009 graduate and Candelaria Sut, 2010 graduate shared their work experience.
Juana advised the students to have a goal and be persistent-not give up until they reach it. It is necessary to organize your time and put other things aside in order to succeed. As a wife and mother, she has many responsibilities, but she finds a way to fulfill her obligations to both, even though she often must stay up late to accomplish all her work. She has found it worth the effort. One thing that has motiviated her is that she discovered that with more academic training she was able to command a higher salary. She might do the same work without the degree, but she was paid less. She felt they would not regret the time they devoted to their studies.
Candelaria told them that the most important thing was not to be afraid of new things or undervalue yourself. She had found that everything is possible, but it oftens takes sacrifice and hard work. Her greatest day was when she received her first salary. She never had that experience. Before she finished her studies, she had worked as a domestic. In that situation, she never was free. She received a small salary, but was mainly paid with room and board. It is not the same as having your own salary and making your own decisions about how to use it.
The students has many opinions about the presentations. Sandra Lopez, Blanca Surec, Reina Cuxil, Aura Curruchiche, and Paula Cali said that the two former Kateri scholars were examples that helped them understand that you can accomplish all that you propose for yourself. Adela Surec took away the idea that to get started you need to take whatever job is offered even if it is not what you have studied and with some work experience you can find a job in your career. Silvia saw that these two women had a positive outlook and were not afraid of new things. They had struggled to accomplish what they wanted. Glenda Tum and Clara Ecomac received advise on how to keep a job- to be punctual, responsible, and disciplined. Marilena Patzan was encouraged to move forward in her studies and to organize and use her time well. All of the students felt that the life lessons of Juana and Candelaria were helpful for them as they struggled with their studies and obstacles to meeting their goals.
The workshops in Chumanzana and Santa Clara continue. This month the women in Chumanzan learned how to make a herbal extract from "hierba mora" that they grow in their patio gardens. The extract contains vitamins that are lacking in the normal family diet. They put the extract in "atoll" a corn drink which they enjoy. It is an especially good way to improve the diet of the young children.
In Santa Clara, the workshops concerning gardening continue. The women are convinced that it would benefit them to have patio gardens and some have started on a limited basis. We are now seeking grant money, so they will be able to expand the gardens - the practical part of the workshops.
Both of these groups are working enthusiasticly to learn new things. If you have any friends or family who you think would be interested in investing in this project, pass this report on to them. We need more support if it is to continue. It is a direct benefit to the lives of these women and their families.
Eveything is possible with a little help from a friend!
On Jan. 13th, the Guatemalan Scholarship Team, Carmela Paz Bal and Emilsa Peren, met with the 2013 Kateri scholars in the first meeting of the new school year. Carmela and Emilsa oriented them for the year, assigned their sponsors, and began the new workshop series. The themes of the workshops for 2013 all relate to leadership and vocations in Guatemala. For the first meeting, they presented ideas about how a leader makes decisions. The young women also signed their committment statements for 2013.
Adela Surec and Aura Curruchiche joined the group this year. Aldea is in the 10th grade studying to be a bookkeeper. Aura is beginning junior high.
Adela finished elementary school in 2007 and was unable to continue her studies. She was needed at home. She dedicated herself to weaving and selling her products for a year. Her parents then encouraged her to return to school. She continued to weave to support herself and with the help of her parents finished junior high and her first year of high school. She comes highly recommended with an 86% average for 2012. She had the honor of carrying the flag in the Independence Day parade, an honor given to outstanding students.
Aura. left school after 5th grade. For six years, she worked to support herself and contribute to the family income. At 18 years old, she returned to finish elementary school. This year, she is continuing in junior high school. Although she is older than the other students, because of her enthusiasm and lively personality, she is able to fit in. She continues to work in a bakery to support herself and her education. She earned an average of 93% in 2012. She was overjoyed to receive a scholarship. It encourages her to continue and will mean she can dedicate herself more to her studies.
We would like to spread the word about these young women struggling to get an education. Pass this report onto your friends and family. Those who you think would be interested. One of them may be interested in investing in these young women.
Everything is possible with a little help from a friend!