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