While not an educator by profession, I have always believed that every person around the world has the right to a basic education. To me, basic education means high school, whatever that looks like in their respective country.
As with most third world countries, education is not free especially for the middle and high school students. In many cases, it is the minority ruling the majority and keeping a populace ignorant is a way to “keep them in line.”
Never do I want to change a culture. It is too important to keep their customs, language, food, clothing, etc. The majority of the students in the Amigos de Guatemala scholarship program speak K’iché at home. However, these students and their families live and work in a Spanish speaking world.
Young women are Amigos de Guatemala’s focus. Why? Studies have shown that an educated female will educate her children regardless of sex and make better decisions for herself, her family and her community. When the program started over 10 years ago, not a single girl finished elementary school. During the 2016 school year, the scholarship program was 72% female. Change is happening albeit slowly.
All of you help change the lives of these young people. I just happen to be the “mouthpiece” and the “front man” (oops, woman).
I end with an excerpt from a letter I received from one of our female students who will be starting her first year of high school in 2017:
Hello Jean, I am sending you many greetings and hugs. I take this opportunity to congratulate you for the job you are doing with the youth, because you are helping them to achieve their goals and dreams, and move this country forward. I also thank the group of Amigos de Guatemala for the efforts and the support they do for the students, together with Sr. Fredy because he is fighting to move forward this country and the township of Zacualpa. He wants the youth to study and not depend from anyone. Blessings to everybody continuing to help the youth, because they really need it.
Jean you are a wonderful woman never forget this, I really appreciate you.
Thank you for everything, I have much appreciation to you. Take care.
Ana María Jimón García
This is the difference that we Amigos make that we will ensure a better this world for all.
May 2017 exceed your expectations.