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Our Story

The mission of Starfish is to unlock and maximize the potential of young women to lead transformational change. Right now, we believe the place where this change is most needed is Guatemala, which has the unfortunate distinction as home of this hemisphere’s worst gender equality gap.

Started in 2008, we teamed up with a few amazing local individuals and embarked on changing the lives of the indigenous girls of Guatemala. We saw that these girls were largely outside of the education system, illiterate and stuck in a cycle that positioned them as overlooked citizens in their own communities.

We know that only 14% of rural indigenous girls in Guatemala completed 6th grade. We know that 3 out of every 5 of indigenous Guatemalan women are illiterate. We know that Mayan girls are at the bottom of every measurement of human development. We aimed to change this and, in turn, to help improve the lives of the entire Guatemalan population.

The Starfish name (previously Starfish One-by-One) originated from the parable of the starfish. We appreciated and valued our ability to influence change by simply “throwing one starfish back into the ocean.” Please see our FAQ’s for more information on our name.

Through our work, we now understand our mission is far greater. And our responsibility is more deeply embedded in the livelihood of the girls, their families and their communities.

Our goal is to create truly meaningful and long-lasting change. The name still works- Starfish are among the most resilient creatures on earth.

Our Vision is empowerment, equality and opportunity for all.

We have abandoned the idea of incremental change and patience as a virtue. The need is far more urgent than this allows. Instead, we challenge ourselves to unleash, in the near-term, the potential of a select group of Guatemalan Girl Pioneers.

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