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Trip to Chajul

Throughout the last week of March, several Starfish staff members and graduates who are currently developing our small business program attended an entrepreneurship event in Chajul, Guatemala! Small Business Coordinator Vanessa, Small Business Assistant Yamil, Quetzal Fund Coordinator Ceci, and Santiago mentor Paola accompanied Starfish Girl Pioneers at Primer Evento de Emprendimiento Social (First Social…

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Selection Process Underway for Quetzal Fund University Scholars

By Cecilia Arriaza, University Scholarship and Quetzal Fund Manager February was an exciting month for the Quetzal Fund, the Starfish university scholarship program! Starfish founders Ted and Connie Ning visited Guatemala to interview potential Quetzal Fund scholars and connect with the scholars who were selected in 2015. During this time, our team interviewed nearly 20…

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A Triumphant Starfish Volcanothon

This past weekend marked Starfish’s 4th annual Volcanothon, our impact trip for Starfish visitors that features a five-hour trek to the summit of San Pedro Volcano on the shores of Lake Atitlán. Seven visitors from the United States, 12 Starfish staff members, and 15 Girl Pioneers climbed the volcano together, symbolizing the teamwork, determination, and…

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Trip to El Salvador

Last week, Starfish educators traveled to El Salvador for a week-long teacher training session with ConTextos (http://contextos.org/), one of our partner organizations. ConTextos is an education-focused organization that promotes authentic literacy skills, such as critical thinking, as a part of the learning experiences of Central American children. Their teacher trainings, construction of school libraries, and…

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El Día de los Muertos

El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an important time of to remember loved ones who have passed away. Combining Catholic and pagan traditions, El Día de los Muertos is most widely celebrated on November 1 in Guatemala. On October 31, or during the previous week, families visit the grave-sites of their deceased loved…

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Lucía Acenia, an example of leadership and perseverance

“There are many things I want to accomplish in my life. Thinking of these goals motivates me to work hard and pursue my education.” Last year, Lucía, 18, became the first person in her family to graduate from high school. As one of six children born to parents who never had the opportunity to attend…

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¿Estas listo? ¿Estas lista? – Campaign for the prevention of adolescent pregnancy

This month, a group of Starfish mentors and Girl Pioneers participated in a press conference hosted by ADEMKAN, where they presented their statistical findings on the status of teenage pregnancies and sexual violence against women in Sololá. ADEMKAN is an organization dedicated to women development in indigenous communities. In a moving presentation, they called on…

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In Honor of Mothers

To help its Girl Pioneers escape the preordained fate of indigenous Guatemalan women (childbearing and housekeeping), Starfish strongly encourages them to wait until the age of 26 to marry and have children. However, sometimes when a Starfish girl finds a man, he signals the end of her participation in both her schooling and the mentorship…

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Maria Victoria: Ambition & Perseverance

Maria Victoria Calel Chivalan (pictured above, participating in a scavenger hunt with student from the KIPP Gaston program) lives in the rural community of San Andres and is currently in the 11th grade earning a “Bilingual Secretary” degree. This is just a stepping-stone, though; her dream job is far more ambitious. Can you tell me…

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Maria Petzey: Daring Greatly

  “On the day after I turned 15, I was buried alive.” So begins the story of Maria Petzey Ixbalán, Starfish graduate and member of the “New Horizons” program. In 2005, a landslide struck Maria’s village of Panabaj and devastated the population. Homes were destroyed, lives were lost, and hundreds of families were displaced. Maria acutely remembers…

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