Have you heard about our special collaboration with Maya Traditions this month? Our goal is to raise funds for university tuition for students like Herlinda. Everyone in the Youth Education Fund comes from an artisan family that Maya Tradition works with, and it’s a HUGE deal for them to be attending university.
We’d like to introduce you to one of these amazing students, Herlinda (in the middle, with that adorable smile!):
Herlinda is 22 years old and from Nahualá, Guatemala. She is studying Law in university, which here in Guatemala is a 5-year program. Guatemala needs more Herlindas to move forward!
When asked “Why is it important to attend university?” she answered:
Now days, a university degree is indispensable. The majority of organizations recruit people with degrees and several years of work experience. This means that in order to have better work opportunities, it is necessary to have general and critical knowledge. I think that studying in university will give me the opportunity to get to know the legal realities of our country, and this will allow me to share with others and hear their experiences.
Here’s some background info on education in Guatemala:
In Guatemala there is a clear need for increased educational opportunities and youth development initiatives. The Guatemalan Ministry of Education reports that only 61% of junior-high (básico) age youth and only 32% of senior-high (diversificado) age youth are enrolled in school. The educational realities are even more disparaging for indigenous populations. The majority (62.3%) of the 556,000 children aged 7-14 not attending school is indigenous, and the highest rates of illiteracy occur in rural areas with an indigenous population. This is largely due to the extreme poverty faced by many indigenous Guatemalans and a poor education system that offers little opportunity to advance economic sustainability. Government-run public schools are under-funded, overcrowded, and offer antiquated curriculums. The alternative private schools are often too expensive for a vast majority of indigenous families, 75% of whom live below the poverty line.