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 the opportunity to become bi-lingual in English for bright young women from impoverished families with incomes of $40-200/month.
Ready for the first day 2021!
The Spirit program is an English language opportunity. If the girls can reach a bilingual level, they will be employed by one of several call centers we work with at 3-4 times normal salaries for high school graduates. This is five plus times what their families are currently living on.
The economy has been severely affected by Covid. Our high school graduate applicants have had few, if any, job opportunities over the last couple of years. The applicants all speak of failure to get jobs, due to employers requiring English or experience. Further, I believe students graduating under the current remote learning situations will be at a greater disadvantage, as they will not have had the practical experience and contacts, normally included in the academic program.
When the economy opens up, the competition for the few available non-English jobs will be fierce due to the huge number of people looking for the few jobs.
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, business and call centers, leaving behind the social and economic barriers of poverty. While our immediate goal is call center work, as the salaries and demand are very high, not all girls have the personality to handle the call center job stress. English still has tremendous value.
- 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 adequate progress every three months, as a proof of ability and dedication to their future. We want to 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 opportunity. It is amazing that our applicants have been able to graduate from High School. This means they, or their families, have made huge sacrifices to pay for expensive High School. 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 English 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 had some education beyond primary school. In twenty years, this has changed a little. More students are going to high school, but quality is often too low or grades are too low to find a job. About six years ago, pre covid, the high school principal in our area said only those with an 85% GPA would find jobs. Now the current criteria is a high GPA, English and experience.
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, 5-6 hours from Guatemala City (the blue dot). Coatepeque is the region’s major city, surrounded by many satellite villages.