The theme of this year's monthly workshops is "Leadership in the Indigenous Community". Emilsa, the person in charge of these workshops, has planned activities to model this leadership style for the Kateri students. She started out with three workshops in self esteem. Her purpose was to encourage the young women to see themselves as capable of realizing their goals in life- that they were people who had value and possibilities.
The culmination of the workshops was for the young women to state what they wanted their future to be like- their goals. They drew a vision of this future and added their thoughts in writng. Some wanted to be nurses and work in a health clinic. Others wanted to be teachers and teach children Many saw themselves as secretaries in offices. Adela's goal was to work in an accountants office to get experience and finally have her own business. Sandra Cecelia is planning a future as a children's doctor. They all have a positive view of their future.
A second phase of the workshops has presented positive role models for the young women. At the April meeting, Lisabeth and Vilma, two young women from San Juan Comalapa, shared the projects they were working on as leaders. Graduates of the Kateri Education Program were invited to the May meeting to talk about their experiences as students and after. The young women were impressed with how much the lives of the graduates had improved as a result of their education. They now are leaders in their communities. The students asked many questions. The experiences of all these young women encouraged the students and gave them a model of what is possible.
Emilsa and I are pleased with the enthusiasm that the young women have shown and we expect their belief in themselves as leaders in their community will comntinue to grow.
The Women of Chumanzana development group is continuing to learn through workshops and visits arranged by the Kateri Fund. In March, Maria and her daughter, Yesica, accompanied Candelaria, the Fund promotor, on a visit to the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura to observe and learn from the people there. Some of the things they saw were:
Maria commented that she received a lot of new knowledge and experiences, especially about different ways to plant. She enjoyed the visit and will be able to apply what she learned in her own garden. She also planned to share with the other women in the group. She never had this type of experience before and it animated her to try different kinds of vegetables.
Yesica said it was the first time she had left her village for an excursion. She had never seen so many different kinds of vegetables, ways of planting, and all the other good things there. She plans to work with her mother to implement the things they learned in their own garden. It is good to see the next generation involved!
In April, Maria and Candelaria began to share what they had learned with the other women and continued in May. There is much to share! Each month the women are learning more and putting it into practice!