Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

The Kateri Tekakwitha Fund exists to empower Guatemalan women to break the cycle of poverty by having a positive impact on their lives, families, and communities through collaboration, educational scholarships, and support.
Jun 14, 2016

Chumanzana Women Stir Up New Skills!

Candelaria, Manuela, Josefa stir their substances
Candelaria, Manuela, Josefa stir their substances

This month, the women of Chumanzana learned how to prepare organic fertilizer, insecticide and fungicide. They had been looking forward to this demonstration for a while now. Thanks to the previous donations, the women learned how to prepare these resources to prevent pests from their gardens and to ensure their gardens stay healthy and vibrant. During this workshop, the women were enthusiastic to collaborate with one another. They gathered ingredients and worked together to build a fire to boil water in order to prepare fertilizer and insecticide.

Tomasa Mateo and María Isabel said it was a beautiful experience to learn how to create organic fertilizers. They know that this skill will be beneficial for the garden that they share together. After only 3 months of participating in the gardening project, they have already harvested half their garden for their own consumption and they have harvested the other half to sell. The garden feeds their family with nutritious food and provides extra funds for other needs.

There are still several women in Chumanzana on the waiting list, eager to join the gardening project. Please join us on Global Giving’s Bonus Day: Wednesday, June 15th starting at 9:00am EDT to give more indigenous women in Guatemala the opportunity to garden. Your contributions will be matched up to 40% as long as giving funds last! Consider that $25 will provide a woman with start-up funds to invest in her garden and a donation of $50 will help her buy new tools to manager her crops.

Another participant, Manuela says she’s very happy with her garden. She and her family have already enjoyed chard, carrots, and cilantro from her garden. With the help of her daughters, she’s already planted more seeds. Her husband is also very happy and proud of their family garden.

Only after a few months of joining the program, these women have gained invaluable skills that will have a ripple effect in their community. They are gaining knowledge and resources to sustain themselves with nutritional produce. They are improving the nutritional health of not only their families, but inspiring the wider community.

Manuela, ecstatic making organic fertilizer
Manuela, ecstatic making organic fertilizer
Maria and Isabel scrape "jabon negro", soap
Maria and Isabel scrape "jabon negro", soap
Jun 7, 2016

Josefa's Year-Long Gardening Journey

Josefa (in blue) distributes tools to new members
Josefa (in blue) distributes tools to new members

When Josefa first joined the organic gardening program she had little knowledge about gardening methods, but now, a year later, she has a vibrant garden that sustains her family and also attracts others in the community. The program has had a strong impact on her personal development and long-term effects on her community.

From student to teacher - Since the beginning, Josefa has been an active participant in the program with an eager attitude to learn. She wanted to gain the skills to sustain herself and her family. She has attended gardening meetings and workshops at least once a week for the past year. Sometimes the women receive external teachings that are not presented in their native tongue. Josefa’s bilingual abilities have been invaluable, as she often translates from Spanish to her native tongue for the rest of the women to learn. Nowadays, she focuses less on her own acquisitions of skills and knowledge, instead she works closely with the gardening project coordinators to teach and mentor new women who’ve joined the group.

Josefa inspires her community - At the beginning of the program all participants are taught that gardens are like babies: they need daily nutrients, care, and dedication to grow. Josefa took this metaphor seriously and because of her great care of her garden, she is known to have a bright and green garden all year round. Several women in the community notice her garden and want that for themselves and are on the waiting list to join the program. Josefa’s mother, sister-in-law and cousins have recently joined the program.

Better nutrients and additional resources for her family - Because Josefa maintains her garden so well, she can provide reliable nutrients to her family. She grows lettuce, onions, radishes, cauliflower, and garlic, to name a few. She also is a reliable resource to her community, as she sells her produce to her neighbors. In addition to saving her earnings for her family, she uses them to buy things that are difficult to grow, like sugar and salt.

Please donate to the project today so you can give women, like Josefa, the opportunity to develop their skills and impact the nutritional health of their community! Funds go directly towards supplies for the women to set-up and maintain their gardens as well as developmental workshops. Consider that $25 will provide a woman start-up funds to invest in her garden!

Josefa
Josefa's cousin and mom, happy in their new garden
May 18, 2016

Young Women Develop Strong Sense of Self Worth

Juana
Juana

 

At the most recent meeting, the scholarship participants focused on the theme of self-worth. The exercises on self-discovery and self-worth were led by Lisbeth. Lisbeth started the meeting by guiding the women through relaxation and meditation exercises. They moved into a reflective exercise, where the women pondered “What worries you the most?” They examined themselves and thought about their strongest qualities as well as their goals and desires. They also had the opportunity to point out the strongest qualities in their peers. Lisbeth explained that there are many aspects that we can recognize in ourselves, but other aspects are only perceived by others. The scholarship participants found this workshop useful because it reaffirmed their self-worth and taught them how to reflect on the good rather than the bad, which is not always easy to do.

Lilian, Juana, and Ingrid Esterina shared what is happening in their lives right now with Carmela in their individual conferences.

 Lilian’s studies are going well. Compared to the past, she has put more effort into her classes, and she is now more enthusiastic about her work and is eager to turn in her work on time.  The scholarship has motivated her to succeed in her studies going forward. It has made her more responsible. Lilian Elizabeth shares that accounting and social sciences are the most difficult courses because the two professors expect a lot from the students, but she realizes that she can utilize her peers to get additional help and she intends to reach out to them more often.

Juana’s academic performance is stellar; her average grade is 93. She understands the content of her courses well. When she doesn’t understand something, she is committed to finding ways to relate to the material and improve her comprehension. Juana shares that her family is constantly facing challenging situations, especially financially, because her siblings are also studying. What is positive is that she’s doing well in school and she is receiving support from the scholarship.

Ingrid Esterlina is studying to become a nursing assistant. She says it’s going well. She is getting experience through an internship. Each week she has gone to different clinics, visits families and assists in identifying health problems, and gives informative talks. She has administered vaccinations to children and assisted in the pharmacy. Ingrid has washed wounds of people who’ve arrived. The most challenging experience so far was working in the emergency unit where she gave aid to a man by washing the rotten flesh on his feet. Ingrid is thankful for her studies and opportunities to help.

All the young women in the Kateri Education Program are growing and changing.  It is helping open up to them new thoughts about themselves and new possibilities for the furture.  The program for each students costs $600 a year.  Make a donation today to show your support for education and new horizons for these young women.

Lilian with her younger brother and Sister
Lilian with her younger brother and Sister
Ingrid Esterlina
Ingrid Esterlina
 

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