Empower Maya Youth in Genocide-Torn Community

 
$11,057
$8,943
Raised
Remaining

Thanks to your generous support, we witnessed remarkable development in our Youth Development Program in 2014, with more students than ever graduating and more aspiring to higher education. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and share with you our results:

  • 100% of youth in their final year of high school and middle school graduated. This is in a community where only 11.5% of the community’s youth graduate from middle school and a mere 3% from high school.
  • We had a significantly higher number of high school graduates than ever before (and more than in all prior years combined) with 19 scholars graduating. Four of our girls graduated from middle school with excellent grades and will continue onto high school in 2015.
  • Of our 19 high school graduates, 100% aspire to continue on to university. Three have already been accepted into a university scholarship program, and a number are currently working on grant and college applications with LHI support.
  • We enrolled a total of 57 indigenous youth from Chajul in our Youth Development Program in 2014. Of the 57, 56 scholars passed their academic year in 2014. Just one student dropped out for health reasons; the student has since recovered and will be continuing with our program in 2015.
  • With the exception of one student, all of our scholars passed their grade. In fact, this year our middle school grade point averages were higher than ever before!
  • Aside from our high school graduates, 100% of our youth will move onto their next grade level in 2015 and will continue as LHI scholars.
  • We provided 9 workshops to youth and their parents on a wide range of topics including communication, sexism, health, hygiene, decision-making, self-esteem, and leadership.
  • Our scholars benefitted from 80 hours of computer classes, 60 hours of tutoring, and 80 hours of intensive Spanish language classes.Participants in our intensive Spanish course took a pre- and post-course exam to measure progress. Students improved their scores by an average of 20.2% after just four weeks!
  • Heading into 2015, we have one of our biggest incoming classes yet with 19 bright and ambitious young scholars starting middle school with LHI in the new year.

Our success rates in 2014 are attributed to our holistic approach that has been honed to ensure our scholars have the supports to overcome obstacles to education and develop into independent-minded and ambitious leaders in their community. We thank you for the pivotal role you have played in empowering and educating our scholars. 

After 10 years of progress, our programs are achieving incredible results. In 2015, we look forward to organizational growth and program expansion. We need your help now more than ever as we grow into 2015. Help us reach even more youth in Chajul, Guatemala. Please give this holiday season.

Best wishes and warm thanks  from all of us at Limitless Horizons Ixil.  Happy Holidays! 

The LHI rascals; our first year boys
The LHI rascals; our first year boys
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our second year girls
Our second year girls
Our new scholars!
Our new scholars!

Links:

Marcelia wants to attend university one day
Marcelia wants to attend university one day

While all of our scholars are bright and brilliant, three students have performed exceptionally well this year. Your backing and goodwill have given Angelica the resources to study math, have driven Marcelia’s ambition to attend university, and have shaped Regina into a leader and artist in her community.

Angelica is in her second year of middle school thanks to her Limitless Horizons Ixil scholarship. Her favorite subject is math and she loves learning new things. Angelica believes that her education is a resource that she will carry with her for her entire life, and a tool that will shape her into the person she wants to be. Angelica has seven siblings and neither of her parents received more than two years of formal education.

 “My parents are very proud of me for my studies since they never had the opportunity. They hope that my siblings and I will finish our education so that we can have better futures.”

Marcelia was deeply disappointed when her father told her that he would be unable to afford for her to study past elementary school. With six children to support, her parents lacked the resources to send them all through school. One day she heard about our Youth Development Program on the radio.

“I wanted to keep studying because I saw how my classmates were in school and I kept thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ I didn’t want to live a life of poverty.”

Marcelia was accepted into our program and is now in her third year of middle school. She passed her classes with flying colors this year and has the best grades in her group. She plans to graduate and find a job so that she can support herself through university.

Regina is an intelligent, assertive, and creative young woman in her final year of high school. She has proven herself to be a talented individual who excels as a leader and an artist. Regina writes poetry in her free time and hopes to study psychology in university after she graduates this year. She cites her curiosity and a thirst for learning as her motivation to keep moving forward with her education.

From Angelica, Marcelia, and Regina, thank you for your belief in our programs and their potential. Please continue to support the bold and brightest of Chajul—these young men and women who have the courage to envision a different future and the ambition to make that future a reality. 

Angelica is a math whiz!
Angelica is a math whiz!
Regina will graduate to a bright future this year!
Regina will graduate to a bright future this year!

Links:

Rony, our prodigious scholar!
Rony, our prodigious scholar!

While it’s misty and dreary in Chajul, nothing can dampen our spirits! We are excited to share some good news with you. The first round of report cards for our middle school youth were delivered in May. We are delighted to report that our students have an average of 75%, grades considered quite high in Chajul!

Starting this year, all LHI middle schoolers are enrolled in our partner school, Colegio San Gaspar, which provides the best education in Chajul. The school’s director, Balthazar Raymundo, recently told us that the LHI scholars are leading in all their classes and making great progress! We are so pleased that our youth are setting a good example to their peers!

While we are proud of all our scholars, some deserve specific mention.

Rony just started his first year of middle school. Known around the LHI Community Center for his cheeky grin and somewhat mischievous nature, Rony has also attracted our attention because of his outstanding performance in class. Not only does he have the highest average among the first years with 77%, he also received a 92 in English. Congratulations to Rony!

Last year, Roselda received the highest grades among her entire cohort of LHI peers. This year, she continues to excel, earning the highest average of all our middle schoolers while also scoring a 95 in Spanish. Terrific!

As part of our efforts to motivate our youth to earn good grades and provide a correlation between fun and learning, LHI rewarded all students with an average over 75% with a field trip to a local waterfall. 13 students met the qualifications, and were rewarded with a wonderful day of hiking, swimming and – against all odds – sun!

Thanks to your generous support, Limitless Horizons Ixil scholars have the opportunity to excel academically. We look forward to keeping you updated on the incredible progress you are helping to effect in Chajul and in the lives of our ambitious scholars.

Tantiuxh, gracias, and thank you!

Alice Stevens on behalf of all the LHI scholars

P.S. Donate after noon (EDT) on June 25th and see your donation doubled!  Microsoft Youth Sparks Match Day is an amazing opportunity to meet our fundraising goal; we hope you come out in support!

We are delighted with Roselda
We are delighted with Roselda's success.
En route to the waterfall
En route to the waterfall
We hiked the beautiful countryside of Chajul.
We hiked the beautiful countryside of Chajul.
The incredible Chichel waterfall
The incredible Chichel waterfall

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Our new librarian and former scholar, David
Our new librarian and former scholar, David

Dear supporters,

Today we’d like update you on the progress of one of our highly successful scholars from Limitless Horizons Ixil’s Youth Development Program. Thanks to your generous contributions, our program continues to empower the youth of Chajul to improve their lives and better their community.

David Imul Calel graduated from high school and our program a few months ago and has just been hired as one of two new librarians for our Saber Sin Límites (Limitless Knowledge) Community Library. David encapsulates both the impact of our program but also our hopes for the long-term effect of our work in his position as a leader, a role model, and a change-maker in Chajul. To fully appreciate David’s successes, let’s reflect on the circumstances from which he emerged. 

Like most of our youth, David is a product of the Ixil region’s long and complex history of genocide, war, and displacement. His parents fled their village during the Guatemalan Civil War, losing their home, land, and farming equipment. They lived in hiding in the mountains before settling in Chajul. David has 12 siblings, though only eight are alive today.

There were many times David thought he would have to give up his education in order to farm his family’s corn plot. But thanks to your support of our program, David was able to graduate, and is now a professional and a leader in his community. For the first time, David says that he is proud to contribute to his family’s income. David’s progress hasn’t stopped—on the weekends he also studies agronomy in university in the nearby town of Nebaj.

“Chajul needs me,” David responds when asked if he plans to live in the village in the future. He believes he has a responsibility to act as an example of what you can achieve with optimism and hard work. He hopes that with his agronomy degree he will be able to contribute to the development of Chajul and tackle problems related to health, malnutrition, and food access.

David shows how our programs can help achieve long-term, sustainable change within the community of Chajul. LHI’s goal is that our education-focused programs will have a ripple effect and effect change not only directly in education, but in other areas, like health and agriculture, where Chajul needs support.

In David's role as a librarian, he is proud to have the opportunity to bestow upon our young readers his conviction—that hard work and self-belief can lead to real progress. Thank you for your belief in David and the rest of our youth.

Kind regards,

Alice Stevens

On behalf of the LHI team

David, when he was just starting with our program
David, when he was just starting with our program
Director Katie with our two new librarians
Director Katie with our two new librarians

Links:

Graduating youth proudly hold their diplomas
Graduating youth proudly hold their diplomas

Dear supporters,

Esperanza and her peers—the Limitless Horizons Ixil youth in their last year of middle school—have all graduated! These youth are a smashing success. In fact, this year LHI youth of all ages received higher average grades than ever before. Nine of the 11—including Esperanza—will be continuing as Limitless Horizons Ixil Youth Development Program participants and scholarship recipients in 2014 as they start high school. In Guatemala, one normally selects a career focus in high school, and these youth have selected a variety of high school programs. Some will be studying in programs only offered outside of their hometown, and some will be staying in Chajul. They are so excited to be embarking on this next great step. The group put their heads together collectively and wrote this message:

“This year, we have the opportunity to graduate from middle school and go on to high school. Each of us has chosen a different career (high school field of study) because we want to continue achieving our dreams and have success in our future lives. Studying in high school is the base of every good education. We will each be going off to different schools. We are very proud of all that we have accomplished, thanks to the support of each one of you.”

Happy holidays and thank you from Esperanza and her peers!

Warm Regards,

Danielle

P.S. Below is a drawing from the graduating students. The caption says, “In the sunset of every beautiful evening is all the peace of the earth. It’s as beautiful as the hope of life.”


Drawing and signatures by graduates
Drawing and signatures by graduates

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Organization

Project Leader

Alice Stevens

Operations & Development Associate
San Gaspar Chajul, El Quiche Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower Maya Youth in Genocide-Torn Community