On March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day by training Mayan girls and women to be leaders in their communities. We know it’s a long path to equality in Guatemala, but we are thrilled to see the changes girls and women are making along the way.

Ericka, our Community Advocate from Chipiacul, spent the day working with 25 girls to improve their communication skills. As part of our Girls Education, Rights, and Leadership course, we help girls between the ages of 10 and 17 increase their knowledge and build new skills to prevent child marriage. Learning how to communicate why they are not ready to get married and what they want to achieve in their futures is key to prevention.

Just as exciting as hearing these girls dream of brighter futures is seeing what a strong role model Ericka is for them. When Ericka joined our Women’s Rights Education Program she was extremely timid, but continued training to become a Community Advocate. Advocacy is challenging. You have to be confident speaking about difficult issues like gender based violence.

And Ericka? She excels at it! “I feel like the work is part of me, not a job. I want the girls to see me as a friend, a support system.” In fact, this year she’s leading 48 workshops for 50 girls with Co-Advocate Josefina.

We are so excited to see women like Ericka inspiring girls in their communities. To celebrate their work, we’ve launched our Girls First – Niñas Adelante campaign this month. Learn more about how you can help girls delay early marriage in Patzún on HIPGive.

And on behalf of the team, thank you for empowering Mayan women and girls to break the cycle of violence and inequality in rural Guatemala. Our work would not be possible without you.


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