Guatemala Vision – Making a Better Future Possible
We are a country that faces many social, economic, and environmental challenges. There is a great lack of opportunities in education and professional achievement for the young people of today. Recent statistics in all of Central America show us that Guatemala invests approximately 1.6% of its internal gross product in education, which we consider very little. The country now intends to invest even less.
56 percent of the Guatemalan population is composed of people under the age of 19. Because these young people are our future, the mission of Guatemala Vision is to offer them updated education. In this way, they will be able to improve the conditions of their lives, the lives of their families, the community, and, later, the entire country. In Sololoa, our area of work, 31% of the population over the age of 15 is illiterate. We believe that implicating education is the road to success and to personal improvement. Our project chooses to work in Sololoa because of the socioeconomic position of the indigenous population. While more than 60 percent of the Guatemalan population lives in poverty, this statistic mostly consists of indigenous people.
Guatemalan Vision is an NGO that desires to improve the lives of the less-privileged population southwest of the basin of Lake Atitlan, including the municipalities of San Juan, San Perdo and San Marcos La Laguna. Our primary beneficiaries are women of very low recourses who desire to become entrepreneurs. From 2010 onwards, GH has offered them personalized training and small loans in order to create a foundation of income over a longer period of time. We are present in the process of selecting their businesses and encouraging growth. The women are educated in administration, literacy, health and home, social responsibility, and care of the environment. The desired outcome of this process is that the business will grow, so that someday the women will be capable of supporting their families and living free of dependency. Before giving them the small loans, the women have to pass a six-month preparation period to learn about the importance of personal improvement and the administration of money. They are taught by means of symbols, since some of the women still don’t know how to read.
Health, hygiene, social and environmental knowledge are important areas than form part of our education program for the entrepreneurial woman. Teaching the women how to cook healthy food and purify water are examples of our daily tasks.
Our organization gives scholarly grants for the children of our beneficiaries, so that the women can use the entirety of their loans on their businesses and not spend it all on their children’s education. The children also benefit from the project, receiving handicrafts workshops, theatre classes, classes on the reuse of trash, art classes, math classes, computer classes, English and Spanish classes. Furthermore, we have computer labs available where we help the children do their homework and print without any cost.
Guatemala Vision works with a permanent team of 7 local people, some of whom teach the women in Tzutujil. We are very proud of our volunteers, foreigners for the most part, who visit our country with the desire to make a cultural impact and to have direct contact with the women and children. We welcome volunteers and give them support no matter what their profession or language is; to work with us, they only need the desire to help.
The project’s offices can be found in San Juan La Laguna, while the volunteers’ house is located in San Pedro. The trainings are offered both in the office and in the homes of the beneficiaries.