We believe that each girl has the right to have their emotional, intellectual, physical and social needs met in their own community with the love and support of their families and godparents/sponsors. Our vision is to provide educational scholarships for bright young women from impoverished families with incomes of $40-200/month.
Spirit applicants and families are learning about scholarships for intensive English classes, as long as they continue to meet our requirements for academic excellence.
The Spirit program emphasizes English. If the girls can reach a bilingual level, they will be employed by a major call center at 3-4 times normal salaries. English classes are a requirement, giving Spirit girls a valuable additional skill to future employers.
The program develops core business skills in general accounting, marketing, administration, tourism, law and computers. These jobs pay a living wage.
The program builds a foundation of integrity in our girls as a basic characteristic to become a successful community and business leader.
OUR VALUES AND OBJECTIVES
- We seek to educate and empower women in a traditional culture, giving them value and self-worth.
- We engage our girls in developing and meeting personal goals allowing them to compete for careers in the future of Guatemala tourism and business, leaving behind the social and economic barriers of poverty.
- We create role models of our girls to provide hope and inspiration to her “younger sisters.”
- We develop English skills which will make our girls more employable. Having our own residence makes this possible through living together and practicing their English skills.
- We expect academic excellence in our Spirit girls. Recent group GPA average was an incredible 86%. These standards are important to help instill the excitement, knowledge and basic values, such as hard work, that will set our girls on the right track.
- We instill a “PAY IT FORWARD” commitment in each girl, as she agrees to pass on her opportunity when she can afford to do so.
THE PROBLEM, ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG WOMEN
Women Do Not Have Value
Because women in Guatemala are not valued, they do not have the opportunity of advanced schooling. Spirit Education Foundation is committed to helping the least of these, the young women, the ones that, through no choice of their own, are victims of poverty.
Spirit Education Foundation, a non-profit organization, is committed to changing the lives of Guatemalan girls, by providing education scholarships, materials, equipment, and support, so they can grow and develop in a supportive environment.
At home, at school, at play and at work, Spirit girls are making a positive difference by contributing to society, being role models, and providing positive alternatives in their world. We cannot change the entire world, but we can change the entire world of one girl. Then, she will be able to change future generations, her family, neighbors and work place.
Education in Guatemala
Times have changed in Guatemala, as families now realize education is important, but High School is not enough. Their challenge is that additional education is not usually economically possible. The types of jobs available today require spoken English. But most private academies push written, not oral English. Families with middle income can’t get the type and quality of English needed, and it is out of the realm of possibility for poorer families.
A poster in the Coatepeque hospital in 2002, showed only 12% of the population has some education beyond primary school. We are targeting the 2.6% of students in the small red section. The 2.6% has to grow for Guatemala to prosper. We look for those girls whose families have managed to afford a High School education, who want more, but can’t afford the much higher fees for University. Extreme poverty remains a barrier for many.
Many young women are committed to improving their lives and are dedicated to completing their education. However, the constant wall they hit is the lack of resources and the monthly struggle for their family to meet basic needs: food water and shelter.
Coatepeque Region, Guatemala
Coatepeque is located at the red dot in the western part of Guatemala, 4 hours from Guatemala City (the blue dot). Coatepeque is the region’s major city, surrounded by many satellite villages. It is also the location of the Diversificada (a post middle school type of career school) that our scholarship students attend.
This is an Economically Devastated Region, Due To:
- High birth rate and impoverished families
- Education is not free; registration, tuition, uniforms and supplies prevent attendance
- An uneducated population, results in few job opportunities and high unemployment.
Covid has changed the world in Guatemala enormously! The lock down is complete; no buses or micro buses, roadblocks to keep Guatemalans from traveling from one part of the country to another by car and changing curfews with heavy fines from a month’s salary for the poor on up. There is no hiring, except for English speaking call centers. Schools have cobbled together reams of homework papers, including how to do computer software programs from pictures on papers. So far, there is no talk of reopening schools.
If the Covid virus can be under control the end of 2022 for Guatemalans, (later than wealthier countries, it will be 2023 before signs of economic restarting will be felt. Jobs are likely to be scarce and job applicants numerous.
Therefore, it is more important to make some changes. Good grades in High School will not be enough to get a job for many years. English speaking jobs require a High School diploma, but English must be at a very high level. To that end, we will be offering an English only component to the program for the following reasons:
- There are companies hiring English speakers.
- Parents may not allow their girls out of their homes until Covid is controlled.
- The school system is in total chaos.
- Our test case of offering this to a High School graduate has had a couple of benefits: she is very serious about learning English and has, by her actions, demanded only English when others in the house speak with her. Others in the house have greatly increased their effort in English.