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Her Infinite Impact: Chonita’s Story of Determination

Growing up in a rural village outside of Santiago Atitlán, Concepción Micaela, “Chonita,” didn’t think she was cut out for school. Her mom never stepped foot inside one and spent her days tailoring clothing to make a small income. Chonita’s father passed away when she was young, and her two brothers worked to support the…

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Unite with Girl Pioneers and #PressforProgress

  When it comes to achieving gender parity, girls in Guatemala have the odds stacked against them, especially if they live in rural indigenous communities. Fortunately, the story does not end there, and Girl Pioneers are pressing for progress. The young women in the Starfish program are standing tall in the face of adversity to…

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Volcanothon 2018: Summiting San Pedro

Climbing San Pedro Volcano is a favorite activity among Girl Pioneers, Starfish staff, and visitors. There are always unforgettable memories made during the scavenger hunt the day before the climb and after everyone celebrates reaching the summit together. For us, though, it is much more than a fun tradition. It symbolizes the steep climbs that…

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Starfish Impact School: First Year Reflections

In January 2017, we took a huge leap of faith and opened the Starfish Impact School. Over the past year, our first cohort of 47 students modeled perseverance, resilience, and the ability to adapt to a new style of teaching and learning. With each new school day, each Girl Pioneer demonstrated her dedication to the…

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Weaving Beads in Kaqchikel

Translation and photography by Nami Patel – view original presentation – link to the Spanish version I am a twenty-eight year old woman living on the peak of a mountain from where I can see Lake Atitlán, how its waves hit the rocks of the other mountains that surround it. When it rains, most little boys…

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Do What Matters

“Do What Matters” is a reflection from Starfish board member Susie Rinehart on her recent visit to Guatemala. Susie is a writer and educational consultant ( She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and two children. I am home after two weeks traveling in Guatemala. A year ago, when I was recovering from multiple skull surgeries,…

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Photo Credit: Kate Lord Photography

Stand With Girls. Become Their Ally.

Millions of voices have come together in recent years to amplify this simple fact: Girls’ education is the lifeline to global development. When you educate a girl, you don’t just educate an individual; you lift up her family, her community, and future generations. Yet an astounding 130 million girls worldwide remain out of school. Without…

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13 Messages for Women Around the World

At Starfish we celebrate women everyday, but March is a particularly special month for women across the planet. The US celebrates Women’s History Month, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, and (in the spirit of things) our staff members have some words of wisdom to share. We asked them, “What messages do you have for women…

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7 Ways Our Small Business Program Fosters High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Women face significant obstacles and inequalities in the workplace—we know this—and indigenous women in Guatemala face even more disadvantages. Ninety percent of Guatemalan adolescents receive no job-readiness training. In a country where roughly half the population is Mayan, only 12 percent of small businesses’ employees are indigenous. We call the young women in our program…

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How the Starfish Impact School is Revolutionizing Education in Guatemala

In January 2017, we will launch the Starfish Impact School—a free, all-girls secondary school that will differ dramatically from any existing school in Guatemala. According to a recent report by the Malala Fund, 32 million girls are currently missing out on the first 3 years of secondary education, and millions more who start never graduate.…

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