The Catrinka Girls Project is an education and life skills mentoring program for Mayan girls aged 8 to 19 in Totonicapan, Guatemala. It is run by Redmi Aq'ab'al, a non-profit organization formed in 2014 by 8 women graduates of the international Population Council's Abriendo Oportunidades program, to 1) expand its education and life skills mentoring work to the Totonicapan area; and 2) deepen it by providing a small production co-op for older girls, so they can develop new skills, earn money to invest in their education and improve their financial literacy. The girls make friendship bracelets which they sell to Catrinka to include as a special gift for Catrinka customers.
In Guatemala, just 40% of girls aged 16-18 are enrolled in school, and 12% of girls aged 13-18 are mothers. The numbers are even worse for Guatemala’s substantial indigenous population, where only one in two girls aged 13-15 are in school. We want to change those statistics by creating opportunities for rural, Mayan girls to access education and life skills mentoring from older girls in their communities, and to develop social networks among themselves with regular meetings in safe places. Catrinka's adviser Judith Bruce, a pioneering leader in girls education at the Population Council, always reminds us that more than anything else, every girl needs 5 friends and a safe place to meet them.
Over the past ten years, the AO program has reached 10,000 girls in 150 communities and built a network of hundreds of young indigenous mentors. AO's program works with communities to develop safe spaces for girls, where girls gather with mentors for basic education, exchange of health and reproductive information, financial literacy training, and to build a network to support them in taking charge of their own futures.
You can help support Redmi Aq'ab'al by making a donation and telling your friends and family about the positive impact of educating girls. 100% of your contribution will be provided to Redmi Aq'ab'al to support the education and mentoring of Mayan girls 8 to 19 in the highlands of Guatemala.