Most Mayan girls drop out of school by 3rd grade and only 10% finish elementary school. Girls who leave school marry young, have large families, and face a grueling home life. Participation in this community development project is required of Maya Ixil Scholars attending Ak Tenamit. They will help teach Vocational Skills to 400 illiterate Maya girls in their home town of Chajul. Educating girls increases Household incomes, Agricultural productivity, Economic growth, Gender Equality.
Guatemalan Mayan women are oppressed and overwhelmingly excluded from accessing educational opportunities, - Lucia, age 35 says "I never studied. My parents didn't give me the opportunity to finish elementary school and that is the reason that now I am the mother of 10 children." There is no local community resource to teach vocational skills to illiterate girls, young mothers or widows. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty with no resources for learning skills required to earn an income.
Ak Tenamit Maya Ixil Scholars are required to do home community development projects. The ASO-Ixil Education Department will create a vocational skills training program that supports this requirement and provide opportunity for 400 illiterate girls to learn marketable vocational skills in workshops in their own Ixil language in an outdoor classroom with a clean stove, classroom greenhouse, demonstration organic garden, and workshop area for instruction in health, crafts and entrepreneurship.
Scholarships for technical degrees at Ak Tenamit give hope. Impoverished families and orphans in Chajul value education and see it as a pathway to a sustainable economic future in their beloved town and Maya culture. They will return to Chajul to establish economic enterprises for community development. Each graduate will do 3000 hours of work study and career internships to gain practical, marketable skills. Youth will bring hope for their futures and hope for the Maya community.