Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women

by Kateri Tekakwitha Fund Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Scholarships & Training for Rural Guatemalan Women
Darli Junior high graduate
Darli Junior high graduate

The new term started in January. Most of the Kateri students will be in high school this year. The students were excited to renew their friendships with their Kateri friends at the first meeting in February.  Margarita and Yessica are in 8th grade. They will finish junior high in 2019.  Darli finished 8th grade in 2018.  There the curriculum was a general study including reading and writing in Spanish, mathematics and practical problem solving, social studies, and cultural awareness. She now joins Carmen, Gloria, Ingrid, Mayra, Milvia, and Alicia in high school. The high school curriculum is based on their choice of career.  Carmen is especially excited because she will graduate in October this year as a trained bookkeeper.

The scholarships your support provides assist families with tuition, purchase of books and school supplies, uniforms and shoes for school attendance.  Having a student in school full time means that the families not only have these extra expenses, but they lose the earning power of one member of their family.

Thanks to Luke Alessandroni’s Spanish classes at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, CA. we are able to send translations of monthly letters to their sponsors. We are tremendously grateful to these volunteer translators.

Thank you for the following feedback from a GlobalGiving Sponsor 2019:  "It has been a pleasure to see the young women in this program move on to work in their profession. A small but powerful force. Getting monthly reports from these young women is a validation that my money is leading to something better for them.

We are taking part in the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Campaign. This Friday, March 8, International Women’s Day, starting at 9am ET, GlobalGiving will match donations to our project at 30% up to $250 while funds last.  Help us keep the program strong by making a donation in honor of your favorite woman!  Even small donations help!

The 2018 school year has come to a close with the annual end of the year party.  Aura has graduated from high school career training as a bookkeeper. Darli, Yessenia and Carmen graduated from eighth grade and will be going on to career training next year.  All the students had successful years.

The staff planned the final meeting of the year to give the students the experience of "putting their best foot forward."  An important skill when you are looking for a job.  Aura will be putting the things she learned into practice immediately, but all the young women need to perfect their presentation when looking for a job.

The staff presented some suggestions about important points and the young women role played an interview.  They each had the experience of being the interviewer and the applicant.  A third student was the observer and noted the good points and made suggestions for improvement. 

After this experience, they summarized what they learned from the experience.  They realized that you need to know all you can about the company before you go for the interview.  Showing confidence was important.  Preparing before hand and knowing yourself and what you are capable of  makes that possible.  Employers want responsible workers, so it is important to show you are responsible by being on time and bringing all the documents the company has asked for.  The final point is that if you get the job, in order to keep it, you must adapt to all the requirements. 

For Aura, this was an important lesson, but it is important for all the young women.  The staff will come back to these points in different ways in the future as "practice makes perfect". 

Giving Tuesday is coming up on Tuesday, November 27th.  GlobalGiving will be matching funds donated on that day.  We now are planning for the 2019 school year.  The donations we receive this month determine how many scholarships we can award in 2019.   Recurring donations always give the projects more security.  If you can budget a monthly donation toward these schoarships, you will be making it possible for these young women to lift themselves out of poverty and become educated women with new possibilities for the future.

Aura(on the right) at her practice assignment.
Aura(on the right) at her practice assignment.

Aura has almost reached her goal.  She will graduate in October with a certificate as a bookkeeper.  She has overcome all the obstacles put in front of her with her positive spirit and can do attitude.  Her goal is to always have a dream and be happy. 

Aura lives in a small village outside of the city of Comalapa.  Her family works hard in the fields raising vegetables to sell.  They have a few coffee plants to harvest.  They have had to struggle with the illness of the father of the family.  This made it difficult for them to do the work needed to survive.  Despite the difficulties, they struggle to keep Aura and her six siblings. 

Aura and her mother are very close.  As the oldest, she and her mother worked together to sustain the family during her father illness.  In 2006, she left school after fifth grade.  Her mother needed her at home to help.  After six years, when her father recuperated, she returned to finish elementary school at 18 years old.  A difficult thing to do!  She was so much older than the other students, but with her positive attitude and happy spirit, she fit in.  She became someone the others looked up to.

Now at 23 years old, she is ready to graduate!  She has a career!  All of her teachers predict success for her in the future.  Hers is a story of persistence, a positive attitude, and a family that believes in her.

To end, I want to share with you a poem she wrote in one of the Kateri workshops.

                                                                   Poem for the Leaders

                                                            I want the daughters of Guatemala

                                                                     To have a better future.

                                                                 I want them to work hard to

                                                                     Change their country.

 

                                                              Young Guatemalan leaders

                                                              Are the future of Guatemala.

 

                                                            It is not important who you are

                                                                    Tall, short, fat, thin,

                                                          All these things are not important,

                                                                Neither color nor race,

                                                           Only you can change things.

                                                                Keep your head high

                                                                       And be firm.

 

I think she will follow her own advice.  She seems poised for a good future.  She is an example of the opportunity YOUR support provides.

Aura writing a letter to her sponsor.
Aura writing a letter to her sponsor.
Aura
Aura's Self Portrait
Aura shares her ideas with the group.
Aura shares her ideas with the group.
Proud to be Indigenous!
Proud to be Indigenous!

In May, the scholarship young women happily celebrated being Indigenous!  In Guatemala, the Indigenous are put down and like all who are oppressed, they begin to believe the put-downs.  As women, they are put down as well, so as Indigenous women, they need to develop strong identities.   One of the Kateri Fund's goals is to expose them to their rights as women and facilitate their recognizing the strengths of their culture.

Those two goals came together at the May meeting. 

The first activity was to develop positive feelings.  Lidia led the exercise where the young women gave each other positive feedback.   Some of the things they said were;”You look very pretty!", "You woke up today radiant!", "May you have a blessed day", and "You are marvelous!'.  She then asked how it made them feel.  They all said that they felt relaxed, happy, and calm.  She summed it all up by saying that it was clear that having nice things said about you gave you a good feeling. 

Lisabeth led the second activityShe talked to the young women about their Rights as Women.  The young women said in a strong voice "I have the right to ............ “ and drew a picture that expressed the right.  To sum it all up, each young woman wrote a right and law that protected it on a paper flower and put the flowers together as a garden of rights.  As each young woman put her flower in the garden, she told why she chose it.  For example:  "I like the right to access to land because not only men have the right to inherit land, we, as women, also have that right!"

The meeting ended by taking pictures of the young women with a sign saying, "Proud to be Indigenous" in Spanish.

All the young women are continuing in their studies. 

Aura is particularly excited because she sees her goal of graduation in sight. She has had a scholarship with the Fund for five years and has worked hard to get to where she is now. She is very focused on what she wants to accomplish. She will be starting her practice as a bookkeeper at a business called Global Assessors this month.

Carmen and Ana are in 11th grade, so have another year to graduation.  Maria Alicia, Lilian, Milvia, Mayra, and Ingrid have all started high school career training.  It is different from junior high but they are adjusting.  Margarita, Yessica, and Darli are in junior high and benefiting from the advice of the older Kateri scholars.

Carmen and Candelaria, who lead the program, are enjoying seeing the young women succeed.    

Ingrid
Ingrid
Carmen
Carmen
Aura
Aura
Yessica
Yessica
Alicia
Alicia
High School Graduates: Flory, Clara, and Juana
High School Graduates: Flory, Clara, and Juana

 

Life presents each of us with situations that motivate us to continue working hard to do our work. For me, it is my interaction with the Kateri Fund students. At the beginning of each year, I feel concern about the progress of each of our student scholars. In every course, they undertake they face obstacles as they go about their studies on the path to reaching their goals and meeting the objectives of the Kateri Fund. Sometimes it is emotional issues; other times disciplinary issues or trouble understanding the course content, or various other distractions. For me personally, seeing the final fruit of all of the students’ labors motivates me to continue working with dedication.

This year, eleven young women struggled to advance in their studies. Four of them finished their studies with the following certificates: Office Secretary, Bookkeeping, Pre-school Teacher, and Nurse’s Aide.

Juana was one of the students who graduated.  She had some difficult moments with her studies. There were family problems that affected her performance, but they did not stop her from moving forward. She carried the flag for her class in the Independence Day parade, an honor reserved for the top student in each class. She was president of the school’s electoral board, Judge for a Day, and received her diploma from the Constitutional Court. Despite the challenges that she faced, she worked hard and achieved a final average of 90 percent. She is pleased with her grades, since she fought hard to get them and they earned her a place at the top of the student body.

As a Kateri Fund scholar she attended monthly workshops at the Kateri Center.  She felt that the workshops that were most interesting were the ones that were about traditions and cultures based on values, self-esteem, getting along together, teamwork and individuality. These were interesting because they improved her attitude and made her think that she should be someone who creates change and can provide service for others.  She liked the way the topics were presented with games and contests like the singing competition  in the September workshop. They learned to work together  in order to win the competition.  It also helped her learn how to accept support from others.

This year she gained more self-assurance and confidence in herself.   She got along well with her classmates.  They were divided into groups at first, but they worked out their problems and got along better as the year went on.

Her family supports her emotionally and verbally with advice, encouraging her to keep struggling to get ahead in her studies. She hopes to be able to support them economically one day. Her family is proud of Juana Rosalía’s graduation, especially since they do not have an education themselves.

Juana is proud of having gotten her high school degree in Early Child Education and of having been a good student.

Her goals for next year are to get a job or give classes to re-enforce students who need extra help, take Zumba classes, study at the university, support her parents, and help in the Kateri Fund.

She expresses gratitude for all the support she has gotten in her education, knowing that without that support she would not have been able to study. 

Mayra gives Juana a graduation gift.
Mayra gives Juana a graduation gift.
2017 Scholarship Group
2017 Scholarship Group
Junior High School Graduates
Junior High School Graduates
Carmela, Education Program Coordinator
Carmela, Education Program Coordinator
 

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Organization Information

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

Location: Pacifica, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Kay Sweeney
Pacifica, CA United States
$19,906 raised of $42,000 goal
 
469 donations
$22,094 to go
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