Empowering Young Girls in Guatemala

Most young girls in rural Guatemala have very limited access to basic services and education. One of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) is the eradication of poverty worldwide. Educating girls is a central part of eradicating global poverty, according to the World Bank, because it has broad social implications.

At the Mojarras School in a rural village of southwest Guatemala, not only are girls getting an excellent academic education the teachers use an immersive technology that addresses social and personal development to help the children reach tier full potential.

“When I arrived at the school I was scared that I’d get teased and bullied like I did at my last school, ” says Juliana Judith an elementary student. You see, Juliana stuttered. She had great difficulty speaking in public and the kids had called her names and told her she was stupid and that she can’t ever amount to anything. “I found it hard to participate in class and it was affecting my schoolwork.”

Juliana’s teacher encouraged her with positive reinforcement, complimenting her on her intelligence and explained that she should not worry about getting a little stuck in her speech, as this happens to some people. She continued to encourage Juliana to participate in the school activities and it paid off.

“To our surprise, Juliana volunteered to represent her grade in our celebrations at the national holidays in September,” said Natalie, the Director of the Mojarras School. “We talked to Juliana’s parents who were concerned about her speech difficulty, but when we asked Juliana again she was adamant that she wanted to participate.”

The teachers worked with her for three months preparing for the big day and, to everyone’s surprise, Juliana developed the theme she had been given in a positive way. When she made the presentation she spoke very well. She didn’t stutter at all.

Since that event, Juliana’s speech has continued to improve and she has no noticeable stutter anymore. She is now in seventh grade and doing very well.

“We believe there is nothing girls can’t do,” said Bernhard Roehrs, Corporate Director of AgroAmerica.”This is exactly what we envisioned when we established this school for the children of our employees – capable girls and boys who are prepared for their future.”

Sally Falkow
Freelance writer covering social responsibility and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


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