The 2016 school years begins this week! The new scholarships have been awarded to five young women. Ingrid Estrada, Ingrid Esterlina, Maria Alicia, Darlyn, and Elsa, will join the seven returning students, Aura, Clara, Flory, Glenda, Mayra, Florestina, and Juana, for a total of 12 young women on scholarship for this year. They all are eager to get back to work at school.
One of our priorities is to give scholarships to young women who had to leave school for economic reasons. Ingrid Esterlina is typical of the new students. Her father is dead and her mother is supporting a family of four children. She had to leave elememtary school as funds were short and her family needed her to help at home. After six years, she returned to elementary school and in 2013 finished junior high. She is the only member of her family who has attended school. In 2016, she will go to school to earn her certification as a practical nurse. She feels that she can help her family and Society generally following the career of practical nursing
After taking 3 different buses and travelling for 2-3 hours, the women’s organic gardening group arrived with excitement at “Granja el Mirador” (El Mirador Farm) in San Martin Jilotepeque, Guatemala. The farm, owned by Don Manuel and his wife, is a center dedicated to agroecology practices. Don Manuel and his wife offer experiential-based lessons on organic, ecological, and self-sustaining agriculture. The center also emphasizes the importance of food safety and food sovereignty.
Don Manuel is a strong advocate of equipping his local community with techniques for sustainable practices. He shared his effective approaches to gardening to the group by giving detailed explanations and also giving the opportunity for the women to dig their hands into the soil and try for themselves. Not only did the women develop gardening skills, they also learned how to care for livestock.
Don Manuel’s wife led a cooking activity where the women learned how to gather fresh herbs and vegetables and prepare them into delicious tortas. The women finished the day with smiles on their faces, feeling accomplished and equipped. Don't miss the pictures down below!
The opportunity to visit a nearby thriving farm was invaluable to the women’s organic gardening group. The new skills the women have learned have had a high impact on their families and communities.
The cost to continue the women’s organic group is $100 per month. Please consider setting up a recurring donation to contribute to this project. If 10 donors pledge $10 a month we will meet this goal. Be one of those donors!
October marks the end of the school year in Guatemala. Our scholarship participants gathered for one last meeting to reflect on the past school year together. In addition, returning students worked on submitting applications for next school year, while the graduates prepared for their upcoming graduation party. All the young women also enjoyed preparing cards together to wish their sponsors a Merry Christmas. It was a festive gathering!
The young women reflected on 2015 by sharing their bittersweet sentiments. There was a collective feeling of relief for the end of the school year, mostly because many faced both academic and personal challenges. The young women also expressed pride and joy in their accomplishments, despite their many challenges. They never imagined they would have completed this school year without the support of each other and the support of Kateri Tekakwitha Fund.
One student in particular, Aura, talked about how she often felt discouraged in her studies. As a young girl, Aura did not have the opportunity to attend school. However, at the age of 18, through the support of the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund, she had the chance to return to elementary school. Although she often felt like she lagged behind her classmates, she pushed onwards to face her fears and overcome her challenges by finding creative solutions. She has since then completed Junior High! This year, she was nominated as the representative of her grade, a high honor given to the best student of the class. She represented her grade by carrying the flag in the Guatemalan Independence Day parade. Her parents and siblings couldn’t be more proud of her.
We congratulate and recognize our six high school graduates who will receive degrees in 2015 in the following subjects:
We commend our continuing scholarship participants who completed the following grades in 2015:
A "Clausura" , end of the year party, is planned for November. At this party, all the young women will celebrate the ending of another sucessful year.