Provide Life Skills for 4000 Rural Mayan Girls

Apr 26, 2012

Rugby, health and prevention of violence on Mother's Day.

Julia flying with the rugby ball.
Julia flying with the rugby ball.

So far 2012 has been a busy year for Abriendo Oportunidades girl leaders, full of workshops on sexual-reproductive health, prevention of gender-based violence, resume writing, and even rugby!  We have been working with amazing volunteers from Peace Corps and the Guatemala Rugby Club to provide girls with high quality learning opportunities.

Last month, the girl club leaders started to learn how to play rugby with the help of coaches and players from the Guatemala Rugby Club. They are learning to play tag rugby and each girl leader has one ball and tag belts to start playing the game in their community. Since rugby is not often played in Guatemala, especially in rural areas, this provides the girls with the opportunity to “own” the game and use it as a tool to empower girl club members. Creating safe spaces for girls to play, learn and grow is an important aspect of the program and rugby is more than just a sport for them. It is a way for the girls to learn to work together, grow as a team and play a sport that nobody, not even
men, in their communities are playing. The rugby revolution is Guatemala has not only already begun, but its leaders are young rural Mayan girls!

So this Mother’s Day, we are asking for you to help us continue AO club activities and expand our growing rugby project. We are hoping to work with a volunteer to visit the communities and organize training activities with the girls clubs directly to help them continue to learn more about the sport, and then ultimately have a rugby tournament in December! Donations will also help us buy more balls, make more tags belts and cover the costs of adding an extra day to our workshops to train and play rugby. The Guatemala Rugby Club is committed to providing high quality, safe, and fun activities to bring this sport to our 45 communities. By creating safe spaces to learn, grow and develop into empowered, educated young women, Abriendo Oportunidades will continue to form girls who decide when THEY want to become mothers and then pass on these same values to their daughters! Happy Mother’s Day to mothers across the world, from rural Guatemala!

Girls training.
Girls training.
The first tag rugby match.
The first tag rugby match.
Youth leaders at reproductive health workshop.
Youth leaders at reproductive health workshop.
Peace Corps volunteer facilitating workshop
Peace Corps volunteer facilitating workshop
Jan 30, 2012

Vegetable gardens and ready for rugby!

Vasquez tire gardens
Vasquez tire gardens

Abriendo Oportunidades is beginning the year with many activities. Girl clubs in Sololá are collaborating with a local organization measuring children under 2 years of age to participate in a nutrition project.  Girls are learning to document weight and height and keep track of children's progress.  The Vasquez group in Totonicapán is continuing to bring vegetables to girls' tables.  Peace Corps volunteer Keisha Herbert and Abriendo leader Olga Yax are leading girls into transforming old tires into an opportunity to grow vegetables in every girl's back yard.

Another exciting addition to 2012 activities is rugby.  The Guatemala Rugby Club is volunteering to organize sports clinics for girl leaders so that each club can incorporate rugby into their recreational activities.  Rugby is perfect to learn about team work, building strategies, communication and respect.  Each Abriendo club will get a basic rugby kit: a ball, a whistle and cones to mark the field.  We know rugby will be a great success! Girls already play their own version of rugby, so we know they will enjoy learning from the GRC volunteers.

Stay tuned for pictures of the new gardens and the upcoming rugby clinics!

Ready for rugby
Ready for rugby
Nov 21, 2011

Results of the Girl Effect Challenge

Dear friends and supporters of our Girl Effect Challenge,

We want to thank you once more for your support during this month.  We raised a total of $5,259 from 134 donations, which is a great achievement for our first attempt at fundraising for Abriendo Oportunidades through Global Giving.  We hope to continue raising funds to reach our $20,000 goal.  We passed the $4,000 and 50 unique donations mark to be able to stay in the Global Giving site, which is wonderful.  Please continue visit this page for updates and pictures of girls and young women engaged in activities from writing workshops to vegetable gardens to participatory video activities. 

I also want to share with you this link to stories from some of our participants:

This week a film crew led by Phil Borges is in Guatemala documenting Abriendo Oportunidades activities and stories.  One of the stories featured is about Irma, a young woman from Totonicapán who has been invited to speak at the international day to end violence against women in New York City next week.  This is Irma's first trip outside Guatemala and will be very important in her life particularly because she will be presenting her testimony along speakers like UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and and the Executive Director of UN Women and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet.  What an amazing way to begin international travel!

We hope that Irma's participation will bring attention to the needs of Guatemalan girls and adolescents and more interest in investing in Abriendo Oportunidades, girls and clubs.

Thank you again for your wonderful support, please check back for updates and continue telling friends and families about this opportunity to make a change in the lives of rural indigenous girls.

Nov 9, 2011

Help us reach $4000! Ayudenos a alcanzar $4000!

Girls from Manantiales
Girls from Manantiales
Dear friends,
We want to thank you for your generous donations so far.  We have raised $2,783 since the challenge began!  We would like to ask you for your continuing support so that we can reach $4000 or more by next Tuesday, Nov. 15 when the Challenge ends. If we reach at least $4000, the Population Council's Creating Opportunities program will earn a permanent spot in GlobalGiving to continue fundraising.  We already met half of the challenge by reaching 50 unique donors, please help us achieve $4000 by sharing the information with friends and family, continuing your generous support and telling everyone about our program.
Thank you very  much!!
Alejandra and the Guatemala team
Queridos amigos y amigas,
Les queremos dar las gracias por sus generosas donaciones. ¡Hemos recaudado $2,783 desde que el desafío comenzó!  Queremos pedirles que continúen apoyándonos para poder alcanzar $4000 o más antes del próximo martes 15 de noviembre, cuando termine el desafío.  Si recaudamos al menos $4000, el programa Abriendo Oportunidades del Population Council logrará un espacio permanente en el sitio de Global Giving para continuar recaudando fondos. Ya alcanzamos la mitad del desafío al contar con más de 50 donantes, así que por favor ayúdennos a reunir $4000 compartiendo la información con su familia y amigos, continuando su generoso apoyo y contándoles a todos sobre nuestro programa.
¡Muchas gracias!!
Alejandra y el equipo de Guatemala

Nov 3, 2011

Thank you in 5 languages. Gracias en 5 idiomas.

Four youth leaders from three different regions of Guatemala were today at the office in Antigua editing some videos they filmed to document changes in girls' lives from participating in our program.  We asked them to thank all of our donors and friends in their native languages (K'iche', Tz'utujil and Kaqchikel) as well as in Spanish and English! Each one also shared why they think it is important to support the girl clubs. Each of these young women lead clubs of up to 75 girls each!

Cuatro lideresas juveniles de tres regiones de Guatemala estuvieron hoy en la oficina de Antigua editando unos videos que han filmado ellas mismas para documentar los cambios en las niñas a partir de su participación en el programa.  Les pedimos que nos ayudaran a dar las gracias a nuestros colaboradores y amigos en sus idiomas maternos (K'iche', Tz'utujil and Kaqchikel), además de decirlo en español e inglés.  Cada una también compartió su opinión sobre porqué es importante apoyar a los grupos de niñas en sus comunidades. ¡Cada una de estas jóvenes lidera grupos de hasta 75 niñas!

Please check our new video!

Por favor vean nuestro nuevo video!

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Population Council

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Project Leader

Alejandra Colom Bickford

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Provide Life Skills for 4000 Rural Mayan Girls