Melissa, our social promoter have been very busy with the women circles. We’ve seen women successfully pressuring local politicians to obtain material support for their community projects, and we’ve also watched and supported as indigenous women have begun to get involved in local governing bodies. Our hope is that with our continued support, indigenous women of the highlands will continue to get involved in politics in order to force the government to serve them and their communities.
The upcoming elections continue to be a focus. AMA is working on ensuring that the indigenous community know all the political parties and their candidates because in the past they went to the polls and just marked a certain box or color, without fully understanding the implications. We will continue to support indigenous women as they become more educated on how to engage in politics for the betterment of their families and communities- this is the best and only way forward.
In other side we want to share with all of you that we joined forces and made possible one of the biggest dreams that we have had since the last few years... We brought together 250 women who are part of AMA's projects, they came from different communities in San Juan Ostuncalco and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. We prepared an special Mother's Day celebration. We didn't need to ask if they were happy because they were wearing a beautiful smile all the time, they had the opportunity to meet all the women who were at the celebration. They were thankful with us for have brought them to Xela because some of them haven't been here before so they took a few minutes to walk in the central Park and see how beautiful it is. This celebration couldn't been possible without all the amazing effort that our wonderful team did to make this happened. We'll keep those smiles in our minds to remind that every effort that we do is because we want a better future for all of them, for their families, their communities and because what we do we do it from our hearts without expecting anything back! We hope to keep having activities like this that bring all these powerful and inspiring women together!
Thanks to the donations we received from you, we continue to create opportunities for all the women of the highlands. That's why, as part of AMA’s methodology, we gather women together in “circles” so they have a space to express their ideas, emotions, and also have the opportunity to train themselves in different areas that will help their personal and professional growth.
In our trainings the last few months, we have talked about the political process, explaining what a political party is and the types of parties that exist. After sharing their ideas and talking about these topics, the women did dramatizations contrasting politicians who made empty campaign promises and gave gifts, and those who sought to promote their plans for the future. It was very interesting for the women to see the difference between these candidates.
Before finalizing the meeting, the social promoter asked the women if they would like to receive more training about the upcoming elections. We were happy to find out that they were all interested in learning more to be prepared and informed about the national and local elections. At future meetings of the women’s circle, we will continue to provide training on these topics. We will keep you updated!
We are excited to share that last Thursday, the 22nd the community facilitator for the women circle programming completed her academic practicum towards her degree in social work. She was able to achieve this goal because of your donations that supported her salary and enabled us to create the quality programming that is recognized by the University of San Carlos as a training site for Social Work students.
Now that she has completed her degree, we are excited to see the impacts she can make as the manager of a new program for mentoring and assisting Indigenous girls to develop into empowered community leaders.
Your support this Giving Tuesday will be critical to transformational programming that develops resilience and assists girls to become engaged women.
What a fulfilling and enriching quarter it has been! With the great generosity of YOUR donations, we were able to accomplish more civic participation this quarter including an Enterprise Development Program for Pixan (a fair-trade social enterprise venture made up of Maya women), and the construction of three school kitchens and a retention wall.
We had the privilege to support the women and volunteers that built kitchens for 450 children in Lagunas Cuaches, 275 children in Chiquish, and 175 children in Twininwitz. In these communities, this enclosed stove design continues to have endless benefits from reducing health risks, increasing efficiency, and increasing safety in the kitchen. 24 additional stoves were built with the help of HSP volunteers. The schools also benefited from the construction of a retention wall that helps protect against erosion from heavy rainfall.
This quarter also meant providing exciting educational advances for our sister organization Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA), located in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Our supporters, Deloitte, conducted workshops for AMA staff to develop more coherence and continue building on our business chemistry. The workshops were important as we maintain teamwork in these environments to efficiently and successfully continue our efforts in these communities. Lastly, HSP had the great opportunity to promote Pixan weaving designs all the way in Europe! Pixan took a weaver and an International Business student to Copenhagen for a textiles and design show this past month to further our reach.
These are all key features in our efforts to build resiliency, educate and assist women in accessing and taking advantage of opportunities. As this quarter wraps up, we cannot help but be grateful and humbled by your continued donations and support. As we reach new heights with the Highland Support Project, we know we would not make these accomplishments a reality without all your help. We are excited for the rest of this year’s opportunities and we look forward to updating you again.
Your generous support has provided 45 women with new stoves initiating the first phase of our theory of change model to create empowered, resilient, and civically engaged women in the Highlands of Guatemala.
The AMA circle program sponsored by HSP organizes women into small circles to participate in behavioral health, education, civic participation, and enterprise development programs. The stoves represent the first step because they are critical in providing women with the energy and the free time to participate in programming that can transform lives. The stoves built through AMA are specially designed through a human-centered design process to increase cooking efficiency and introduce time-saving practices.
This mother's day, the women of AMA produced a thank you video to share with donors. While many nonprofits have the capacity to produce videos, what is striking about this video is that it has been created by women who a few years ago were hesitant to talk in public and did not think it possible that they could utilize computer technology. A woman from Xeabaj II speaks for the women when she shares that what she most appreciates what AMA's program means for her daughter. Through AMA, old ways of thinking that it served no purpose to educate girls and that women were limited in what they were able to achieve have been challenged.
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