With the pandemic, 2020 has been really tough! Schools closed in March and the country went into complete shutdown. Since then, learning has been mounds of paper homework assignments periodically delivered by the school. One can even pass the computer class without having a computer.
Some of the girls returned home a couple of days before the lock down. This was not a successful decision on the part of these families. They grades have fallen and English has suffered without having opportunity to speak and practice English.
The government is opening the airport in late September and allowed some public buses to operate at reduced capacity in early September. Otherwise much of the country is still closed. Non-English speaking jobs are not available, although companies are hiring English speakers.
Education in 2021 does not look promising. Because of our concerns regarding quality of education and family fears, we are suspending the high school program. However, we are offering a completely in house English program. The scholarships will be for up to 18 months, although the goal would be preparation within 12 months. This will be only for high school graduates and will give them the skill to become employable in an English speaking call center.
We currently have one girl, as a test case. She is progressing very well with hard work. She is hopeful she will have enough skills to job search in early next year.
AMAZING JOB OFFERS
English speaking call center jobs are the one secure opportunity and certainly the highest paid for high school graduates. There are numerous companies in Guatemala City that contract with American companies such as T-mobile, Enterprise rental car and a furniture company. As a result, our girls are earning wonderful salaries that allow them to help their families and let them attend university in their chosen field. Benefits include:
- $650 starting salary with bonus, instead of the $150-250 for graduates in Coatepeque
- Social Security and medical benefits
- Shorter work days: 7 hours instead of 10
- Discounted university education
Due to this opportunity, we have shifted our program emphasis. A call center job is a definite job, due to demand, for those who can become fluent in English.
By the end of January, I received the following email from Dalia.
I want to tell you about my great experience in Alorica: On January 28, I had an interview by phone. I had to answer many questions. After I waited around 20 minutes and they called me again to tell me that I already had a JOB!!! I started on January 29 the Accent Training, I had to pass 5 English tests and I did it!!!…
I started this week the production training, Let me tell you that I am doing it right. Next Monday I will start taking calls with American People. I just want to say “” I am so happy””.
In 2020, Dalia is working from the Guatemala City house, able to help her family and apply for San Carlos University starting in 2021.
Thanks to sponsors and the many hours given by their “English Angels”! In all, we continue to learn more to help future girls better prepare.
ACCEPTING LONG DISTANCE APPLICANTS AND A VARIETY OF CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS
For many years now, we have had incredible harmony and an amazingly supportive ambiance of sisters helping sisters. I was not 100% sure that this would continue with the added dimension of cultural diversity.
Our existing girls have great empathy for these new girls who won’t be able to go home until Easter. They were enfolded into the group and have recovered remarkably from the extreme homesickness of the first week. They work as a team of friends.
“Distinguished Friend of Coatepeque”
Spirit’s work was acknowledged by an act of the Coatepeque City council. Pam was given the honor as “Distinguished Friend of Coatepeque”, although without the effort of a huge group of people in the US the work would not have been possible.