Antonia, Viviana, Isabel, and Ana started their internships in January of 2023. They join the six young women continuing from 2022. There will be a total of ten interns this year. The young women had there first meeting in Solola in January. It was a time for them to enjoy each others company, learn about the program for the year ahead, and welcome the new participants.
Isabel’s certificationis in Science and Letters with Orientation in Medicine. Her placement is in the departmental headquarters of health. She writes, “What I want, the desire I have with this internship time is to soak up the subject, gain experience and above all make known what I am capable of.”
“I suffer from a back injury that sometimes prevents me from giving one hundred percent Unfortunately, I suffered this injury because I was helping my parents in the field. I hope that it does not affect me much in the course of my internship because I want to prove to myself and others what I can do.”
Viviana is a Bilingual Secretary. She will be working at an NGO, Asociación Renacimiento, in her home town of San Juan Comalapa. Her goal is to learn a lot and to achieve and earn a place in the institution or get another job with the experience obtained in her internship. She says, “I will be consistent and persevering in all my work and I will do all my work with great enthusiasm in this year 2023.”
Ana works in COINDI, a non-governmental organization. They work in the communities focused on women's groups and orient young people against violence in different towns of Sololá. Ana will work in the office.
Ana writes to her sponsor, “I am very happy with my work. The time I have been working with them, has made me recognize that my co-workers are very good people, starting from the director to the receptionist..”
Antonia is a Bilingual Intercultural Primary Education Teacher . She will be teaching children in an elementary school through an organization called One, Two, Tree.
Antonia wrote her sponsor about her reason for seeking an internship. She said, “This opportunity to do my internship is in order to acquire knowledge and experience. In addition, I am able to cooperate with the educational development of the country, through the classes that I will be providing to the children of my community. I also have the goal of being able to enjoy an economic income to be able to pay for my current university expenses and provide financial support to my parents. “
Carmela, the Intern Program Coordinator, reports that the young women are all off to a good start. We will keep you up to date on their progress.
For the first quarter of 2023, they will learn how to produce videos with their cell phones. Their first assignment is to make a short video that introduces themselves. Board member Anne Dejarnatt and Kay Sweeney will meet with the young women when they are in Guatemala the end of March and will have a chance to see what they have produced. We will be sharing their videos on our website as soon as Board member Melissa Vlach has a chance to add the English subtitles. This fulfills the Kateri goal of building a relationship between the Kateri program participants and their North American friends.
Everything is possible with a little help from a FRIEND!
Emiley is halfway through her internship. It has been a learning experience for her. In her October letter to her sponsor, shared below, she tells you what she has experienced so far. As she continues her work experience, she also is on her way to another step in her education.
"I greet you kindly by this means hoping that you are very well and wishing you success always in your daily tasks and in everything you do.
"The reason for this letter is to say hello and tell you a little more about my internship , as well as a little about me personally."
"In this fourth month of the internship I have done very well. I have learned a lot about the functioning of the organization and the issues that are handled. These new experiences and topics have expanded my knowledge and have helped me to see things from another perspective and see it without any filter."
"Currently I have been supporting the organization in another component which is productivity. In this component I work almost with the same population as with the other components I have worked with. That has facilitated the relationship and communication with all of them. The main objective of the productive component is to seek economic empowerment in the population and mainly for women. In our society lately women are taken as weak and unable to participate in different important areas of society. They are excluded and deprived of their rights as women."
"In Guatemala, there is a very high percentage of violence against women, making them one of the most vulnerable sectors. I have identified a lot with this organization because it does a great job for all women. This organization supports women victims and survivors of violence through its support with psychological care within its offices. I have learned a lot about this issue. Honestly, I am very happy with what I am doing. Having a good relationship with the population makes me very happy and makes me feel satisfied to be able to contribute something to help them."
"As for me I am very happy with my family. My parents are the most important thing in the world because they always support me in everything so that I can grow as a person and as a professional. They are the people I admire most in this world. Although they could not have an education like the one they have been able to give me, they struggle every day to give my brothers and me the best education. They gave me the opportunity to study what I wanted. They always encouraged me in everything even when I went through very difficult times in my studies. They gave me the emotional help I needed."
"Here in Guatemala the classes are about to end in some schools, therefore I am already in some procedures to enter the university. I found the great dilemma in deciding what I want to study. I have tried to relax and think seriously what I like and am really passionate about doing. In the course of these days, I will have to make a decision about what I will be professionally in the future. I just hope to make the best decision."
"I hope you have learned a little more about my experience within the organization and also a little about me. I hope that you find yourself well. I send you a big hug wherever you are."
"Thanking you for your valuable attention, I leave you."
I think this letter makes it clear what the Kateri Fund Intern Program is all about. It also makes it clear that the young women in the program are truly being able to use their gifts and grow from the experience. They are women of quality!
In her recent visit to Guatemala, Kay Sweeney, Kateri Managing Director, was able share good news with Rosa, Carmela, and Candelaria, the Guatemalan staff. Thanks to a grant from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ministry Fund four additional interns will be integrated into the program. They will join the continuing interns this month for their yearlong internship. Carmela is interviewing and finding placements for them now.
Rosalia, Evelyn, Milvia, and Juana will finish their year in the program. Some of their thoughts on finishing the program are below.
From Rosalia: “First, I thank you for the support that you gave me during all the months of work. I'm about to finish this internship process and I’m extremely grateful that you have supported me.
During this time, I have learned that we must be empathetic and very responsible in our work. I have managed to maintain discipline with my students and motivate those who are shy. It will be a great challenge to serve all children with their different educational needs now that the children will be at school for a full day . It's a radical change for both the children and me. “
From Evelyn: “During my internship we have carried out very interesting activities. It has been a time of much learning and I have been able to contribute in a great way. I am very grateful for this opportunity. It has given me the opportunity to continue training professionally.”
From Milvia: “I thank you very much for your support during these years. Because of you I have reached where I am now. I have fulfilled one of my goals. I still have to fulfill more but I have already taken a great step and I am very happy for that great achievement.”
They all are very appreciative of the support they have received through your donations. We are planning to continue expanding the program. The number of young women who are involved depends on the funding we have available. If you can make an additional donation or move to a recurring monthly donation know that your money will go directly to “Empowering MORE Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs".
Everything is possible with a little help from a FRIEND
Juana Rosalia graduated from high school in 2017. Her dream was to go on to the university and further her education. Her family however needed her to work to add to the family income. She looked for a position as a preschool teacher but there were few openings and without work experience she was the last on the list. To help her family she took a job in a bakery. The pay was small and she worked long hours starting in the very early morning.
In June 2021, she applied to the Kateri Fund Intern Program. They were able to place her in a position at her local government school. The beginning was difficult as there were some problems within the school but she perservered and showed that she was a willing worker. As school starts for the 2022 school year, she has been given a stable place as an intern working with one of the other teachers. Her February letter expresses her feelings as she looks ahead.
"I respectfully address you by introducing myself. I am Juana Rosalía, teacher of Intercultural Bilingual Early Childhood Education. I will be co-teaching this year with the teacher of the kindergarten level of the Official Urban Mixed School No.1 of Santa Clara la Laguna Sololá. For me it is an honor to continue working with the teachers and especially with all the students. I am mainly responsible for the youngest, ages three to four years."
"First of all, I thank you for your generosity and support towards me. Without your good intention I would not have this opportunity."
"My goal for this year is to prove myself as a teacher so I will have an opportunity to secure a permanent position. I want to continue to work as a teacher while continuing to update my knowledge. I wish with all my heart that this year will be a cycle of blessing for me, and that through my work I will secure a permanent job to continue for next year."
"I feel like I can conquer the world with one hand when you're support provides the other hand"
"HAPPY MONTH OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP"
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) recently issued a study entitled “Between Rootedness and the Decision to Migrate: Push and Retention Factors of Migration in Guatemala.” In this study, they analyzed the characteristics that influence individuals’ desire to migrate out of the country.
Among the results, they found that there was a tendency toward a “female brain drain.” This is because young females are more likely to migrate as they reach levels of higher education, particularly if they are unable to find employment opportunities in which they can use the skills that they have developed.
Another factor that makes migration more likely is a sense of being undervalued or discriminated against, which is most common among the Indigenous community. Indigenous individuals feel very connected to their communities, but the sense of discrimination is another impetus for them to leave and seek opportunities elsewhere.
With our goal to empower Indigenous young women within their communities, the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund addresses a number of these factors. The scholarship program supports young women so that they are able to continue with their education and provides tools for professional development during this process. The young women attend workshops on topics such as job interviews in order to help them develop their skills in this area and give them an advantage as they enter the working world.
However, as the CRS report points out, education itself is not enough to prevent young women from migrating. In fact, it actually increases the chances of migration if not accompanied by employment opportunities. It suggests that increasing employment opportunities for young people is important. In particular, job training programs that connect young people to employment opportunities. In addition, the study found that leadership opportunities for women, which help them to feel connected to their communities, are vital.
Our intern program speaks to this recommendation for combatting the factors which motivate the young women to leave their communities to secure a better life. This program connects young women to job opportunities, helping them to develop their skills in order to achieve success in the working world. It also allows them to connect with employers and build professional relationships for the future, often leading to long-term opportunities.
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