Girls Waiting

 

The 2018 intake interviews will start in June 2017. The applicants who are accepted will be posted later in July. Our objective is to have 10 successful applicants each year, not that we have the Spirit house completely functional. In 2018, we should be at capacity.

Our first three bilingual English speaking girls are very happily working in the well-paying call centers in Guatemala City, since 2016. As a result, 5 other family members are now able to go to school and the girls are living in dignity and delight. You do make a difference!

Global classroom girls
Global classroom girls

2016 was also a year of changing economics which will continue on into 2017.

  • The US dollar dropped another 5%
  • While the school is supposed to be “free”, the schools are finding other ways to make money. This includes:

A number of additional “special day” and “Special project” fees.

A third uniform for the computer class, which is two hours per week. We already provide the school and expensive graduation uniforms. As of early 2017, the once a week computer class uniform changes each year for all grades.

More teachers are requiring more books that they sell directly to their students. In the last two years, our book bill rose from $12 each student to $112 on average. In 2016, we found money from other fund raising, reducing the available money for other needs. We can no longer afford to use other funds to cover this. For example; our 13 year old computers are dying and need replacing. We are having more dental and medical bills with the poorer students.

  • With opening the program to more distant locations, we have to feed and house more of the students seven days a week. However, this provides more role models in isolated villages, one of our goals. An example is Comitancillo, village of two girls in 2015, another in 2016 and new applicant, Filomena, in 2017. Filomena’s mother shocked me with her huge smile and general excitement. Mayan families don’t smile much. Mom had been waiting for this opportunity for 2 years and the joyous day had finally come. She spent a weeks income to come and was “dancing” in the gate. 
  • More of our applicants are FundAP referrals. While they are vetted, they are from the extreme poor. Hence, their ability to pay the food supplement and transportation is more limited or non-existent. 
  • More of the students are spending more time in the house studying, hence more food and housemother salary. If they feel they need more study time, I haven’t been able to deny them this additional support. 
  • An unresolved new expense; we had been receiving free dental supply contributions from a local supply house which has now ended due to new accounting and disposal policies. Thus, our dental volunteer does not have what she needs to help these girls with really bad dental problems. The extremely poor FundAP students have enormous dental needs. This runs up to $450 per student and is not currently in the budget.

We always try to keep expenses to the minimum, but can not control Guatemalan policies or the US dollar. Our pledge remains that 100% of your money does go to your girl’s educational and housing costs.

More future applicants now have hope

Prior to having our new residence near the school in Coatepeque, our applicants had be live within an hour of the school. Now that we have space for 29 girls to live and work together, we are able to offer scholarships to girls throughout Guatemala. A group called “Fundap” came ready and prepared.
 
We primarily work with two applicant groups.
 
  1. FUNDAP: is an organization that provides scholarships through middle school and does monthly guidance and counseling for their girls and families. Director Walter contacted us in 2014, after reading our story in the national newspaper. He hoped to be able to find further education for his better students.
    This is a good opportunity to have a more multicultural group of students in a very multicultural country. We agreed and currently have fourteen of Walter’s referrals. This will be a good “marriage” in the future. We will know the applicants are well prepared to join the current residents and their families are fully aware of what this opportunity means to their daughters and the families.
    In the beginning, the mixture of cultures was of concern, given cultural prejudices in Guatemala. The results have been fantastic! In our house they are sisters.
     
  2. A middle school in Coatepeque. This is not a school for the wealthy and one of the Spirit directors is a teacher there. She carefully picks the applicants for referral. She is also a great motivator for future girls.
    She would like Spirit to offer English to her girls prior to becoming scholarship girls, as a motivation. We are not there yet though due to financial and staffing limitations.
 

Our growing national and local reputation and better local management has helped the program improve and grow in quality of applicants.

Recent graduates sharing their lives have shown parents the value of the long effort and sacrifice. Families sacrifice the earnings the girls could make which would help alleviate the extreme misery of their poverty. It has been a tough sell, but it is working.
 
For example: Lesvia’s brother insisted on working one more year so she would have time to become established at the call center. He is now 22 and really wants to go to high school. They know this is Lesvia’s, and the families, chance for a future.
 
We still insist on the 80% GPA requirement, but have turned away fewer applicants due to this requirement. Middle school students are learning well in advance of the 80% requirement, so they can strive to earn it if they can find the money to buy paper for their homework.A GPA of 80% allows a greater chance for success, when these applicants from questionable village schools, study in the tougher Coatepeque schools.
Applicants who are refused at this time, may apply in another year, if they reach our standards.
 
Finally, people seem to be understanding that their only way out of poverty is through education. 
  

FUTURE SALARY EXPECTATIONS PER MONTH, WITH YOUR HELP

  • Basico/middle school: $81-95
  • Diversificado/high school: $163-240
  • University: Q3600 ~ $450
  • High School with English knowledge $600-1100 at a call center.

CHOOSING TO SPONSOR A GIRL

Each June, we will open applications for 10 girls. I expect the pool of applicants will come primarily from FundAP. However, a future scholarship is only possible with a sponsor.

  • By July, the applicants will be posted on this web site “GIRLS WAITING”.
  • Future Sponsors can choose their girl on a first come basis. We ask that the commitment be for three years – their years in High School and the Spirit English program.
  • A sponsor may also choose to become the girl’s English Angel. This is optional.  

After reviewing their stories, send in your specific request by emailing or snail mailing your request to:

Please include the following: 

  • Your name, address, email, phone. They must be able to write to you monthly to share their lives with you. This is also to give them value- you care.
  • State whether you are interested in being their “English Angel”.
  • The scholarships are for High school. With the English opportunity, girls are hoping for call center work after high school. If their English isn’t quite good enough after high school, but their effort and grades are, we would suggest one year at university while they improve their English more. This is a possibility, not something we would encourage.