Article by Abigael Siecinski
In the Maya Ixil region of Guatemala, 36 years of internal conflict devastated the native population and resulted in a generation with no access to education. Although the conflict has since ended, the native Mayans still face obstacles as all Guatemalan schools are required to teach in Spanish for grades 7 and beyond, instead of the native Mayan Ixil which is most prevalent in the region. Additionally, 60% of babies born in the region are born to mothers between the ages of 10-16. This early pregnancy trap, lack of access to education or job training, and cultural gender inequality has created a powerful cycle of poverty that disproportionately affects young women and girls.
BBF and Colegio Amachajul have partnered to provide the support needed to close the poverty gap. Colegio Amachajul offers programs for all members of the Ixil community including the Professional Seamstress Certificate Scholarship program. The classes are taught in the native Ixil language and are designed to provide women with the skills to be gold standard seamstresses. The women also have the opportunity to learn how to sew washable feminine pads and face masks that can be used to improve the health and safety of their communities. BBF was able to donate 12 sewing machines to the program to expand the size of their classes to help meet the great demand for these educational opportunities. We are excited to provide the necessary support to those who want a brighter future for themselves and their neighbors!