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Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs

by Kateri Tekakwitha Fund
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Empowering Guatemalan Women with Professional Jobs
Glenda
Glenda

The new intern group started off their year with a meeting and learning the Kateri Fund theme song "Yo Soy Mujer"- "I am a Woman" in English.  The first line in English is "I am a woman and I seek dignity.  I don't put up with either  injustice or wickedness."  and goes on from there stating our creed in song. 

The theme of the meeting was the work situation in Guatemala.  They talked of the inequality of work opportunity and how it affected the population especially the Indigenous population.  They related the facts and statistics in an article published by the World Bank to their own lives.  The young women participated with animation because they could see that it affected them personally.

At present there are five young women in the program.  Maria Angela, Glenda, Sandra, Odalia, and Flory.  Another young woman, Loyda, will be joining them in January when her internship in teaching begins. 

Glenda's certification is as a early childhood teacher.  She will be interning in a non-profit in a village near her village that works with students with disabilities.  Glenda assists the therapists.  As a teacher, she can offer activities which relate to the therapy they need.

Her schedule is varied.  On Wednesdays, she goes out to a nearby village and helps the two teachers there work with the disabled childen in the community.  Thursday and Friday, she teaches dance and theater.  The other days, she assists the therapists in the Center.

She is learning that to work with children with special needs, you need to be well prepared.  It is very important to ask questions when she doesn't understand in order to learn all she can and get the most benefit from her experience.  She is excited to be offered a course in sign laguage.

The other interns are having similiar exciting experiences.  More to come in the next report!

Sandra
Sandra
Odalis
Odalis
Flory
Flory
Angela
Angela
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Brenda with her Intern Partner Candelaria
Brenda with her Intern Partner Candelaria

Brenda had graduated from high school ready to go to work as a secretary, but was not sure how to go about finding a job.  It was easy to fall into the daily routine of helping with the household chores and that is what she did.  She kept putting off the job search and no one encouraged her to start.  The women of the family had always stayed at home protected until they found a husband.  That was what was expected.

Fortunately for Brenda, she heard about the Kateri Fund Intern Program through a cousin.  She decided to apply.  Her first  six month placement was in the office of the Fund.  She felt comfortable there.  As she was able to fit into the routine of the office and perform the tasks assigned, she began to gain confidence and see herself as a secretary.

When her six months were finished, the Fund was able to find a second placement for her with a non-profit in her home town.  It was a step further into a new environment and new expectations.  Adjusting was hard, but she was successful.  She was considered for a permanent position with the non-profit, but the funding did not come through, so she finished the internship without a permanent job.

With the confidence she had gained, she began to apply for jobs.  The experience she had gained was a help on her resume.  She did some work as a clerk in a store, but found she wanted more.  She decided to go back to school and get a certificate as a nurse's aide.  The money she was earning helped pay for the classes.

She now is working in the Helath Center in her home town and enjoying her work.  She credits the Kateri Fund Intern Program with getting her started and helping her gain the confidence and experience she needed to see that her future could be one she chose. Self-determination is the key to a happy life!

To help more young women on the path to self-determination, consider a donation or share Brenda's story with a friend who you think would like to support young women entering the work force.

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Flory 2016
Flory 2016

We have everything ready to go.  Half of the funding is in place from donations made on GlobalGiving.  We are waiting to get the rest of the money in place so that we can put the young women in their work place.  They all are looking for jobs, but lacking work experience hampers them

Flory is typical of the young women waiting for her first job. Flory has had to persevere to overcome many obstacles in her life. She has had a history full of violence. Her mother died when she was a year old. She was left with no one to protect her and was mistreated physically and psychologically by her family members. In order to escape this situation, when she was old enough, she found work as a domestic. The people who employed her, helped her.

At 23, she went to live with a religious community, where she receiceved psychological help and facilitated her studies. When she was ready to go on her own, she lived with one of her teachers, so she could go to school. She found work in a clothing store to support herself and attended junior high classes for adults on Saturdays.

When she graduated from junior high, she did not start studying her career immediately because she felt she did not have the knowledge she would need. She first studied a high school course in Science and Letters.   She received glowing reports from her teachers and graduated in 2015 ready to move on

 Despite all that she has suffered, she is a friendly, outgoing young woman. She communicates with everyone. She is not afraid to share her opinions or discuss her problems when necessary.

At 32 years old, she will graduate from training as a nurse’s aide in June.  She is very happy as her dream is to become a psychologist and her graduation moves her closer.  It has taken her many years of preparation.  She has needed a great deal of perseverance to reach this goal, but she never faltered.  Her next challenge is to find her first job as a practical nurse. 

To start another group of young women in the program we need the investment from our GlobalGiving supporters.  Become a monthly donor and let your friends and family know about the work that needs to be done to give young Guatemalan high school graduates a start in their career.

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Mayra at work in the accounting office
Mayra at work in the accounting office

In 2016, five young women started out on an adventure. Recently graduated from high school career training, Reina, Delmy, Mayra, Rosa, and Leona were eager to put the skills they had learned into practice. Unfortunately, finding employment without experience is very difficult., but fortunately they heard about the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund Intern Program. They all applied and were soon placed in position by Juana Cun, the program coordinator. Now, a year later, they have the work experience they need to secure their first position.

Reina interned with a women’s group organizing organic gardens. She is now working with two government projects in her own village: CONALFA, an adult literacy program and SOSEP, a pre-school program. Not only is she working to support herself, but she is giving back to her community.

Delmy is another successful Kateri intern. She interned in the Hogar Santa Maria de Guadelupe in Santa Apolonia and in el Instituto Municipal Ajpu in San Juan Comalapa where she organized activities with the students and worked in the office. They found her work so helpful that they hired her for the rest of the year. Now that she has employment, she will be able to be able to enter the University and study for her degree in Social Work.

Mayra interned in an accounting office in San Juan Comalapa. When she finished her internship she was hired as an employee. She is continuing her work in the office.

Rosa ‘s career is as a nurses’ aide. She worked in the Centro de Salud in her hometown of San Juan Comalapa. At the end of her internship the doctor in charge gave her a recommendation for her resume. With this she was able to secure a position as a nurse’s aide in Guatemala City.

Leona decided on police work as a career and was able to enter the Police Academy when she finished her internship. They all are happy with the results of their year with the Kateri Fund.

We were able to provide this program to support these young women as they gained the work experience they needed to secure their first position through funding from Mary’s Pence and Quail Roost Foundation as well as the funding our GlobalGiving supporters provide. It has made it possible for these young women to start out on a new path to a more secure life.   

To start another group of young women in the program we need the investment from our GlobalGiving supporters.  Become a monthly donor and let your friends and family know about the work that needs to be done to give young Guatemalan high school graduates a start in their career.

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2016 Interns
2016 Interns

The Kateri Tekakwitha Fund Intern Project’s object is to facilitate job opportunities for recent high school graduates without work experience. In Guatemala, the key to finding work is to have prior experience. Without work experience it is next to impossible to secure employment.

To secure this work experience for recent high school graduates, the Kateri Fund coordinates internships with employers according to the profession of each young woman, with the object of their acquiring work experience. In this way, the young women, in the future, can secure whatever job they seek. At the same time, they are strengthening their skills. Workshops also are provided which focus on finding employment, so that in the future they will be successful in finding employment that will benefit themselves and their families.

At the end of the process, the interns agreed that they were motivated and ready to look for work, since they had the work experience necessary to assume work in their profession.

Juana Cun Sismit, who has her “Licenciatura”, a degree similar to a master’s degree, with a major in Social Work, continued as the program coordinator. She began the project by writing a work plan. In accordance with the plan, she then coordinated placement of the interns with businesses and institutions corresponding to their career training. This is the most complicated part because many of the organizations take a lot of time evaluating their participation and in the end answer that the internship is not possible. Therefore, much time is lost waiting for an answer. This happens more in government agencies and large for profit businesses. The conclusion is that to coordinate this phase of the project requires more time if an adequate space is to be found for the intern.

Previously, it was easier to coordinate with organizations that have various programs in education, health, community development, etc. These groups are willing to provide a space for the interns to exercise the career they were trained for.

Another thing that Juana found was  that it is important to listen to the young women about the difficulties in their area of work. It is necessary to not only listen, but to analyze and find a solution quickly and, if it is necessary, communicate with the person in charge to improve the learning process.

To deepen the knowledge of the young women, the first Thursday of each month, the young women assisted at a workshop at the Kateri office. The workshops began with the theme of employment in Guatemala and in the areas where they live specifically and what employers will ask for when they seek work. Juana shared information with the young women and they exchanged their own ideas about the work situation in Guatemala and in the places where the they live.

Another theme developed, was how to work the Excel computer program. They learned to handle accounts, balances, sums, subtraction, multiplication and division formulas.

Another workshop concerned how to pay taxes in the superintendencia de administracion tributaria (SAT), specifically how to enter the webpage of Declara Guate and about the page for small taxpayers. At the same time, they learned how to solicit their police and penal reports which employers ask for as a part of their Curriculum Vitae. Each of the young women wrote her Curriculum Vitae both in electronic form and printed.

They practiced job interviews mentioning the possible questions and the necessity of each person knowing something about the business of the place where they were being interviewed. This knowledge would help them answer questions during the interview.

In the workshop, the interns practiced interviewing. Each intern took the part of the interviewer or the interviewee, so that they would have an idea how to present themselves in an interview.

Two representatives of the Labor Ministry introduced the programs that the Labor Ministry has to coordinate work opportunities and key elements in a job search were explained.

An important aspect of these workshops was that the young women had a chance to share freely their feelings about work and the project manager also was able to share her experiences. This gave them an idea how they can continue to succeed in their work and studies

The Fund feels that by demonstrating the capacity of Guatemalan women to work in different areas of employment, it continues moving the participation of women in all areas of Society. It raises awareness that it is important for women to have a way to demonstrate the abilities that they have. Only in this way will a better quality of life for woman and their families develop.

Of the five young women who benefited from the project, four have permanent employment. They dream of being able to study in the university next year and think they will be able to also help their families by covering the expenses of the education of their younger siblings. This is a success for the Fund.

Take the case of Delmy Aracely Chali Cun. She was an intern in the Hogar Santa Maria de Guadelupe in Santa Apolonia and in el Instituto Municpal Ajpu in San Juan Comalapa. When she completed her internship, she continued her employment in the Instituto Municipal. Now that she has employment, she will be able to be able to enter the Universidad next year and study for her degree in Social Work.

Reina Cuxil also has been able to secure employment as a result of her internship. As an intern, she worked with a women’s group in Chumanzana organizing a project of organic gardening. She was able to secure work in her village working with two government projects: CONALFA, an adult literacy program and SOSEP, working with preschool children. Not only is she working to support herself, but she is giving back to her community and helping to better life there.

Because of the investment of Mary's Pense and the contributions of our Global Giving donors these young women are launched on a positive path.  All donations now will go toward supporting another group of young women as they leave high school and begin their careers.

Reina Cuxil in her CONALFA Classroom.
Reina Cuxil in her CONALFA Classroom.

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Organization Information

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

Location: Pacifica, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Kay Sweeney
Pacifica, California United States
$6,960 raised of $10,000 goal
 
269 donations
$3,040 to go
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