Guatemala Girls Education Project
Changing the World One Girl at a Time
The Guatemala Girls Education Project is an umbrella term for three separate programs, each of which is focused on improving educational opportunities for indigenous girls and young women in rural Guatemala.
Each of these programs has a unique relationship with:
MAIA, an organization which operates a secondary school for girls in Solola, Guatemala, and
The Evergreen Rotary Foundation in Evergreen, Colorado.
Click on any of the programs or partners to learn more.
Why Girls' Education?
Indigenous girls in Guatemala are among the country's most disadvantaged group with limited schooling, early marriage, frequent childbearing, and chronic poverty. In Guatemala, the average Maya teenage girl has obtained only 3.5 years of education. Furthermore, only ten percent of indigenous girls are enrolled in secondary school and less than one percent continue to University. The need to invest in education, particularly for under served girls is acute. Education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for women. It is also an area that offers some of the clearest examples of discrimination women suffer. Among children attending school there are twice as many boys as girls, and among literate adults there are twice as many men as women. Offering basic education to girls is one sure way of giving them greater power, enabling them to make genuine choices over the lives they wish to lead. This is not a luxury. It is a basic human right. It is not sufficient to stop with basic, secondary education. Providing an opportunity for young women to advance to the next level of education is essential if the existing macho culture is ever to change. Educated girls and women will become tomorrow's leaders of transformational change.
The current state of the education system is substandard. Many classrooms, especially in rural Guatemala, do not have adequate teaching materials. Additionally, with more than half the population living below the poverty line, many children – especially rural and indigenous children – are forced to drop out of school to help support their families or because they are unable to afford the cost of uniforms, books, supplies and transportation. Gender disparity in Guatemala is among the worst in the western hemisphere, second only to Haiti. This key problem is seen in education statistics. Of the 2 million children in Guatemala that do not attend school, the majority are indigenous girls living in rural areas. In fact, over half of the Guatemalan population is indigenous and less than 30% of poor, rural indigenous girls are enrolled in secondary school. Almost none are enrolled in university.
There is no better time. The world is changing fast and Guatemala needs to change with it.