Provide Scholarships for 20 Rural Guatemalan Women

by Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your enthusiastic support for our Scholarship Program in Guatemala! Because of your kindness and generosity, we've reached our funding goal! To celebrate this accomplishment we wanted to share with you an account of the impact your donation has made possible. Here, in our final funding report, we'd like to highlight the story of one of our girl scholars who has benefitted from your support. It is through her story, and stories like hers, that we truly see the power of the human spirit and understand how together, we can change the world for the better.

Get to know Silvia:

Silvia came to us this year, as a new student in 2012. When she arrived, she was anxious to get started. Silvia was motivated by her hopes of succeeding in her studies and earning her new scholarship all the way through graduation.  Over the course of the year however, Silvia, like many other girls her age, was confronted by a number of challenges. In school, she struggled to work with teachers whose teaching style often left her feeling lost. Earlier this summer her father fell ill with fever when he was attacked by bees and sustained an intense allergic reaction. The accident left her father bedridden, a situation that throughout the developing world can force girls out of school to help out more at home and to provide for her family. Fortunately, her father made a full recovery and both Silvia and her family have remained committed to her education. Silvia worked hard to tackle the course material with which she struggled most, and we are happy to report that as of July, Silvia has been identified as a top student in her Philosophy course!

Heading into the exam period, Silvia was prepared for success. Because of her recognition as such a talented student, she had been given special homework assignments to challenge her. Soon she was named one of the top three students in the class, all thanks to her hard work and perseverance. We are so proud of Silvia’s work and accomplishments, and we can’t wait to see her unlock her own potential with the support of our program.

 Your donation has helped to make this transformative educational experience a reality for Silvia, and for all the girls like her in our program. We know that by educating girls, we are changing the course of their future. Thank you for supporting our work, together we are paving the path for a better world!

With the greatest gratitude, 

The Kateri Tekakwitha Team



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Chimaltenango Group at Meeting with the Visitors
Chimaltenango Group at Meeting with the Visitors

The scholarship  staff, Carmela Paz Bal, Emilsa Peren, Juana Tuj, and Candelaria Sut,  is working hard to provide a quality program for the young women in the Kateri Education Fund scholarship project. Candelaria is continuing to lead the monthly presentations on careers in Guatemala at the meetings in Chimaltenango.  Juana Tuj presents the themes in Santa Clara la Laguna.  The themes covered have been "Choosing a Career" and "The Role of a Woman in the Guatemalan Workforce" plus those that we reported on in our last report.  The young women will be taking a vocational exam this month which will help them discern what types of careers might appeal to them.

At each meeting, Carmela and Juana have individual conferences with the students.  This year, there will be eight young women graduating from high school career training. Mery Cun and Martina Chipix will graduate as elementary school teachers.  Celia Sicay and Mishel Cutzal will be bookkeepers.  Marianela Patzan is training as a bi-lingual secretary and Cristina Cuc and Ana Chali Tuyuc will finish a 5 year course that awards them  a degree to teach music in the elementary school. 

They all are in their seminar in which students in their last year of high school take a social issue or community project and develop a presentation or activity around the topic. Ana's group is working on the theme "The Cleanliness of the Streets and Deforestation".  The theme for Mishel's  class is "Vision for the Nation". In it they are developing a presentation that tells what they want their country to be like in 20 years. These are typical of the themes chosen.

They also will do a semester of practice in their chosen career.  For instance those studying teaching work in a classroom aiding the regular teacher.  If they are studying bookkeeping, they work in an accountants office, etc. Ana is doing her practice in a school in Guatemala City teaching the flute and working with 4 year olds.  Cristina is doing her practice in a preschool in their hometown, San Juan Comalapa.  Martina and Mery are both in schools in their hometowns.

The other young women are also busy with their studies. Francisca Cutzal and  Blanca Surec have all started high school  this year and are traveling outside their villages to study.  They report it is hard to adapt to the new institutions and different styles of teaching, but they are working hard to get good grades.  Blanca reports that all of her classmates work together to help each other.  All of the other young women are doing well.

A group of friends of the Fund visited in April and we were able to show them what they had been investing in.  They met with the present scholarship holders in Chimaltenango and with a group of our graduates in Santa Clara la Laguna.  Pictures of those gatherings are included with this report.

All in all things have been moving along well thanks to your support.  Please share this report and information about the Fund with your friends and give them the opportunity to invest in these young women.  There are many more who could improve their lives with a little help from a friend!

Solola Students at Convivencia with Visitors
Solola Students at Convivencia with Visitors


Celia Sicay Perez
Celia Sicay Perez

For this year of 2012, I have contracted to lead the scholarship project for the Solola area.  It is a pleasure to offer my services to aid the Youth and at the same time the Fund, since the Fund has assumed the responsilbilty to look for funds to keep the project functioning. to help more and more young women to be able to realize their dream of an education  Thank you to the supporters of the Fund who  genorously share  so that the young women can receive an education in order to develop themselves.  I have reported below what each young woman shared at our group meeting in January.

Ana Karina Mazariegos Chachal thanks the Fund for the aid in 2012.  Education is very important for her personal improvement, so that she can have a better future and will be able to help her parents economically.  In order to do this she will put all her effort into her work and classes to finish her career and start to work.  She plans to help the Fund after graduation and then study at the university.  She is in her second year of study for the career of secretary at the Escuela Nacional de Formacion Secretarial Numero Uno in the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City.

Maria Josefina Chacom To  is happy because she can continue studying with the help of the Fund.  She starts her career training at the high school level in bookkeeping in the Centro Educativo Comunitario CEDCOM, Santa Clara la Laguna, Solola.

Celia Sicay Perez is very happy because her family is in good health.  She considers it a blessing that all of her family is struggling to move ahead and improve themselves.  This year her greatest wish is to study her career and continue the struggle with enthusiasm always.  She desires success in her bookkeeping career studies and to make new friends who will work together to help each other.  This is her last year of study for her high school career training.  She plans to study with much responsibility. 

Sandra Cecilia Lopez Cojti reports that her family is enjoying good health.  They all are studying in different grades.  Her studies are very important for her because in the furture she will be able to serve society better.  Her goal this year is to get good grades-70% which is the average required by the Fund and higher.  She is in 8th grade this year in the Escuela Normal Regional de Occidente in Novillero, Santa Lucia Utatlan, Solola.  She appreciates the support she receives.

Clara Elizabeth Ecomac To tells us that her father works as a baker in San Pedro la Laguna, a town near her village.  He comes home every week end.  Her mother is a housewife(soul of the house in Spanish) and dedicates herself to collecting firewood and preparing meals for her children. Her studies are very important to her.  She is going to struggle this year to pass the grade.  She is in 8th grade.

Glenda Manuela Tum To studies in 8th grade in the Instituto Nacional de Educacion Basica del Municipio de Santa Clara la Laguna.  Her father does not have steady work.  There are  days when he finds work and others when he doesn't.  Her mother is a housewife and takes in laundry. She has a great desire to study and feels happy that she has the support of the Fund.

Dorcas Etelvina Garcia Vasquez is happy that the Fund gave its attention to her and included her in the scholarship group because her family couldn't pay for her studies.  Her father is a fieldworker and earns very little and there are many expenses for her studies.  Her mother sometimes has the opportunity to take in laundry.  She wants to get good grades this year, work hard, and reach her dream of being a professional.  She is studying in 8th grade in the Instituto de Educacion Basica por Cooperativa in Santa Clara la Laguna.

As you can see, all of the young women are appreciative of their opportunity to study and plan to make good use of it.  I am happy to be able to give them my support through our monthly meetings.  This year the theme for our meetings is "Careers in Guatemala: How to Choose One and How to Secure a Job" .  I will be letting you know more about these meetings in future reports.

Juana Tuj Mazariegos

Solola Regional Project Leader

Ana Karina Mazariegos
Ana Karina Mazariegos
Clara and Glenda writing letters to their sponsors
Clara and Glenda writing letters to their sponsors
Dorcas Garcia
Dorcas Garcia
Juana Tuj Mazariegos, Solola Project Leader
Juana Tuj Mazariegos, Solola Project Leader
Solola  Group with Juana Tuj, Project Leader
Solola Group with Juana Tuj, Project Leader


Ana and Paula making pulceras.
Ana and Paula making pulceras.

                                                                                                                      Chimaltenango, Guatemala 

                                                                                                                                        January 15, 2012 

 The January meeting is always  interesting because we welcome new people. This year, we welcomed seven new scholarship recipients and a new member to the staff, Candelaria Sut. This year, Candelaria will be developing the workshops for the monthly meetings on the topic of "Careers in Guatemala." 

At each meeting, the young women have an opportunity to share with the group.   Their January comments are below:

Martina Chipix Yojero:  (continuing student)  Martina began her practice teaching on January 16 in a school located in her community. She will do a week of observation and then will begin to student teach with the children. Her family is made up of her brother and his wife, her mother and her sister. Her mother provides for the family because she does not have a father. Her mother works raising domestic animals.

 Blanca Luisa Surec Umul: (new student 2012)  Blanca is studying to complete a bachillerato (high school diploma) in the field of Tourism and Hospitality at a state run institution called “February 6th” located in Tecpan.  She hopes that this career will lead to work in an industry with jobs available. Her family includes her mother who weaves “guipiles” (blouses) to sell, and her father who works in the fields. Her little sister will attend school this year for the first time, so there will only be one baby at home with her mother.

Paula Del Carmen Calí Xocop: (continuing student)  Paula's classes started on the 9th of January and she will be studying on a semester basis.  Her mother had to give up her job working at a childcare center.  Problems developed in the family because she wasn't at home to watch over the family.  Everyone at home is well.

 Ana Florencia Chali Tuyuc (continuing student)   Ana may be able to do her practice teaching music at a public school in her community, but this is not yet certain.  This year she will be in her seminar class.  Her family is all well. Her father works on a construction project because he is a laborer and her mother weaves guipiles, while her brothers all work in different institutions.

 Mery Nineth Cun Apen:  (continuing student)  Mery is doing her practice teaching in a public school first grade class.  During the first part of the year she will be working with the teacher doing planning, and then starting on January 16 she will start working directly with the children.  Her family is well, but her parents are worried about the cost of living and the current situation.

María Berta Cristina Cux Notz: (continuing student) Cristina's classes will begin on January 16. She may be doing her practice teaching in the capitol, teaching music with children.  Her family is well. On January 2, her sister who is a religious had her birthday and they celebrated with the family which was a very happy occasion.  She also shared that her niece will also begin to study music to be a music teacher, at the same school where she has been studying.

Edna Mishel Cutzal Bal:  (continuing student)  Classes began on January 16.  There will be a  meeting for the parents first.  Her family is well. The only problem is that her little brother had an accident in the fields when he cut himself with a machete.  He went to the hospital for treatment, but unfortunately he will not regain the use of the finger that he cut.

 Marianela Andrea Patzán Tubac: (continuing student)  Classes will begin on January 16. She is happy because this is her final year before graduation and she hopes to do her practice teaching in August.  At the moment everything is going well. At home, the family is a little worried because her father is ill with his nerves, and his heart, but he is receiving medical treatment. The rest of the family is well.

Barbara Santa Silvia Tartón Chuy: (new student 2012)  Barbara is studying a course to become a Clerical Secretary because she hopes to work in an office in the future.  She will be studying on weekends.Her classes begin on January 27 and are held from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.  Her father works in the fields, planting and harvesting corn, and her mother works taking care of the home. All of her little brothers and sisters will be in school this year.

Reina Albertina Cuxil Tzaj: (new student 2012)  Classes begin on January 20.  She is pursuing a career  as a primary school teacher.  The school is located in Santa Cruz Balanya, not in her village.  She likes this career choice because she likes to share knowledge with children. Her family is well and happy that she has received support from the Kateri Fund. 

Francisca Abelina Sirin:  (continuing student)  Classes will begin on January 16. She will find out then what will be included in this years studies.  She likes the career she has chosen. Once she graduates she wants to help her parents, and study at the university.  Her family is well, and very thankful to the Kateri Fund for the scholarship offered to her this year. 

Ana Marilena Patzan Cuc: (continuing student)  Classes begin on January 23.  She is both happy and nervous because this year may be more difficult.  But she will give her all to pass her courses and learn everything she is taught.  Her family is well and very happy because of the support for her studies. 

Silvia Florentina Sian Quiej: (new student 2012)  Classes begin on January 16. She will study for a career in Tourism and Hospitality.  She is anxious to get started, and hopes to successfully continue her studies so that she will be able to receive her scholarship all the way through graduation.  She will do all she can in her studies to learn and succeed.  Her family is well, and her brothers and sisters are all also in school this year.

 These comments will introduce you to the students who are attending the meetings in Chimaltenango.  Another group who study in the Solola area attend meetings in Santa Clara la Laguna.  The person in charge of this group is Juana Tuj Mazariego.  Our next report will introduce them and share some of their comments with you.

Martina Chipix
Martina Chipix
Santa Clara Group
Santa Clara Group
Marielena Patzan
Marielena Patzan


Rosa Luc Miza 2011 Graduate
Rosa Luc Miza 2011 Graduate

In December, the Kateri Fund is ending one scholarship year and preparing for the next.  The 2011 scholarship recipients celebrated another successful year with a "clausura" in Santa Clara la Laguna, Solola, Guatemala.  Luciana Telon  and Rosa Luc from San Jose Poaquil, Chimaltenango graduated from their high school career training with certificates to teach elementary school.  Josefina Chacon To from Santa Clara la Laguna, Solola  finished junior high and will continue in 2012 with her career training to be a bookkeeper.  The other young women will all move on to the next grade level. Ten will be studying careers at the high school level and three will be in junior high school.

Luciana and Rosa both commented on the impact that the Fund and their education had on their life. 

Luciana said, "“Thanks to God, to my mother, and to the Kateri Fund, I have reached my goal.  It is a great happiness and satisfaction for me to have the title as an elementary school teacher.  I hope to find a job in a school to exercise my profession and help my family.  I am very happy because, during my years of study, many things have happened, many obstacles, loss of hope, and difficulties, but above all I confronted these problems and I am about to finish my last year of high school study and my practice teaching with the children.  I liked it all. It was where I could evaluate my disabilities, my distresses, and capacities in order to improve and overcome them in all my life and to be more secure in my development later in my future. 

Rosa commented,"“In the Kateri Fund, I learned many things, sharing with my fellow participants.  Things that I didn’t know before.  I made new friends through this fund and they come from other places.  I liked the workshops a lot because they spoke of things that I didn’t know.”

Carmela Paz Bal, Emilsa Peren, and Juana Tuj, the Kateri Fund scholarship staff, have spent November visiting the home of the new applicants and interviewing them and their families.  We have 22 new applicants who are qualified for scholarships because of their economic needs and their academic achievements to date.  Our challenge will be to decide which of the applicants receives scholarships.  We have adequate funding to add two new students for 2012.   We are counting on funding through this Global Giving Challenge to make it possible to increase that number to at least five.  The donations we have already received are moving us toward that goal.

Luciana Telon, 2011 Graduate
Luciana Telon, 2011 Graduate
Josefina Chacom,  (third from left)with Friends
Josefina Chacom, (third from left)with Friends



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Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

Location: Pacifica, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Kay Sweeney
Pacifica, CA United States

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