Now operating in 5 villages of San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Guatemala, Las Hermanitas – Big/Little Sisters - has added 2 new locations for the 2013 school year that began in January. Not only are new middle school girls in all 5 locations signing up to be mentors, but all of last year’s Big Sisters have re-enlisted, most choosing to work with their same Little Sister.
Recently back from nearly 5 weeks in San Pedro, Women Work Together volunteers, Wendy Baring-Gould, Program Director, and Dr. Theresa Preston-Werner, Evaluation Director, spent their first 2 weeks there visiting 16 villages to assess all our programs’ strengths and weaknesses.
Regarding Las Hermanitas, 100% of the girls interviewed said they were excited about the project and had benefitted personally from being a Big Sister. They were clear that being mentors to their Little Sisters was a form of community service, with many indicating that this experience has contributed to their view of themselves as leaders. And, 100% of the Big Sisters reported that they’d spoken positively about Las Hermanitas with their families and friends, generating positive word-of-mouth in their village about the benefits to all of educating girls.
Thanks to our donors, and based on the girls’ feedback, each Big Sister is now equipped with a kit bag of educational materials including story and activity books plus some basic art materials. Donor generosity has also made it possible for local staff to visit each village 2x/month to run workshops with our Big Sisters, helping them generate ideas and plan activities that are engaging and focus primarily on improving their Little Sisters’ reading and math skills. Additionally, these workshops give the girls a place to work through any issues they may encounter. Staff also meets w/teachers and mothers of both Big and Little Sisters at each location to listen to their feedback and advance their support for the girls’ participation. Teachers and mothers alike report high satisfaction with the program, observing that both the younger and older girls are more successful in school and have a renewed commitment to their studies.