Sunday, December 21, 2008

General Year End Report From Guatemala Dec. 2008

General Report from Guatemala
December, 2008

In this school year, the Fund helped 20 people in their studies so that they may improve themselves and obtain a better quality of life, with the objective to serve and help the people with great need to obtain higher knowledge in the form of a formal education.

In this way, we feel satisfied to give the Guatemalan society four new graduates: Mildred Alvarado from Santa Cruz del Quiche, Esmeralda Quiacain from San Pablo La Laguna (which is close to Lake Atitlan), and Candelaria Sut from Tecpan as Primary Teachers and last but not least, Rosa Angelina Roquel from San Juan Comalapa who obtained the title of book keeper. All of the women feel satisfied with what they achieved. They consider the Kateri Fund the most valuable help, for the effort it put forth for them and their parents or guardians. On our part, we are proud of their achievements.

The next group is Gladis Macario, Nohelia, Aura Maria and Juana Vidalia who completed their second year of high school and will continue on to their third and final year. The good thing is that they are very good students shown by their grades and attitudes. We wait for the end of 2009 to produce these four new book keepers.

Also, we have Monica Fabiola who was in her first year in business administration, who finished this year of school with success. We hope that next year will go just as well.
Valentina Chuta was also in her first year of high school, studying to be a pre-school teacher. Unfortunately, because of personal issues, she abandoned her studies and the scholarship. We hope that she will continue her studies at a later time.

In the last group, are students who are studying in junior high like Cristina Cux. She was in her last year of junior high, but will continue to study in 2009. She will study to be a music teacher. Mishel and Marisol Suar studied in their second year of junior high and in 2009 will finish this level. Antonieta studied her first year of junior high and next year will study her second year.
The other group is those in university: Juana Cun who studied her second year in the career of social worker and Cesia Reyes who studied the second year of business administration. They have done well.

Finally, we get to the intern, Brenda Otzoy Bal, who had her first work experience working for the Kateri Fund. Then she had the second part of her experience working in a non-governmental organization in her community and continues until February. She expresses happiness for these opportunities that she can take advantage of to obtain better knowledge. Furthermore she is taking a computer course that is being sponsored by the Fund.

In the same manner, we can talk about the training for the staff and vendors of the Fund. There were the two courses in English for Hermelinda, who was working in the textile project, paying the inscription and other university fees for Lilian Emilsa and finally a course in sewing for Rafaela Morales.

Personally, I feel satisfied for having the ability to give people economic help which not only serves to help them, but for their families as well.

On my part, it is a great joy to have been a channel to make this possible through the year.
God bless everyone who has put forth effort so that we can reach our dream of obtaining dignified work and so that we can form ourselves so that a better future will be possible.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and Peace in the New Year.

Carmela Paz, Scholarship Coordinator

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The year is drawing to a close, and holidays are fast approaching! The young Indigenous Guatemalan women in our project are celebrating another successful year. We are in a flurry of holiday sales of the Fair Trade craft products the Mission Guatemala artisans produce.

In 2008, sponsored by your donations, 17 young women were able to study. Several received honors. Three were selected to carry the school banner in the 15th of September parade in their towns. Three will graduate this year! Four will continue in "basico", nine in "diversificado" and two at the university. One young woman completed a yearlong Kateri internship and prepared training for the rest of the group in how to seek employment.

The full group has continued to meet monthly in Chimaltenango. This time together gave the young scholars the opportunity to discuss topics concerning health, community, and personal development with other women their age – offering them a source of camaraderie and opportunities for growth.

In Mission: Guatemala, we are continuing to support local economic development through the sale of goods by artisan groups. We were able to introduce another Fair Trade retailer from upstate New York to the Women of Chumanzana, La Familia Catu/Sajcabun and Mujeres Clarenses - so that they now have additional markets for their goods!

Unfortunately, this year, Mission: Guatemala is in jeopardy due to lack of funds. The increased cost of shipping and the weak economy has made it difficult to keep prices affordable. We have decided to focus our work more in Guatemala. Carmela Paz Bal and Emilsa Peren, our Guatemalan staff, have conducted a needs assessment with the artisans. We plan to implement their ideas if money is available.

Our projected expenses to maintain our programs for the 2008-09 fiscal year are $30,000. We began the year with $20,000 in pledges and donations. We needed to raise $10,000. We thank all those who responded to our earlier appeal for funds. We are, however, still short of our goal. We will have to decide on cuts to our programs if we do not receive donations or pledges amounting to $2500 by Dec. 31, 2008. If you can help now, go to our website and click on the Donate Now button or return the enclosed donation card.

On behalf of the Kateri Board Members, we want to thank you for all the support you have offered us this year. We extend to each of you wishes for a blessed holiday season.

Kay Sweeney Christine Galvez
Managing Director Treasurer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Report From Our Guatemalan Scholarship Coordinator

A Letter From Carmela Paz Bal
I hope that your activities go well and that God blesses you always. I bring news that here in Guatemala the natural setting is changing significantly because we are in the winter season. The best part is that the plants are growing and will soon produce fruit. The bad news is that in some areas, there have been floods and landslides that are affecting various families.

On our part, we ask God for the well being of all the people, especially those most affected by the natural disasters. On the other hand, we are continuing with various activities here in the Fund in order to expand the knowledge of the scholarship holders, and share our happiness because four of the students finish their high school career training this year. The rest of the group will continue in the next grade up.

Everyone likes to participate in the activities we program for our monthly meetings, because it helps them to better their lives and understand other people. The themes have included medicinal plants- their uses for first aid and curing headaches; how to be aware of conserving natural resources; how to be an effective person and achieve their goals; and the culinary art of Guatemala where they showed each other the food of their own village. It was interesting that each region has its own traditional dishes.

As for their studies, the girls are working hard to end this year with success. Each person proposes a yearly goal and the good news is that the majority achieve it through their efforts. They all show responsibility when they assist at the programs and this gives us insight into what excellent students they are; also, we have a better understanding of them outside of their grades.

Lastly, the help of their families is fundamental for the students because it is with them they live daily, or communicate with frequently if they study outside their village. The difficulties that the majority of the families face are economical, such as unemployment, and some have poor health.
-Carmela Paz Bal, Scholarship Coordinator