Support Career Development for Guatemalan Indigenous Women

Everything is Possible with a Little Help from a FRIEND!

Support Career Development for Guatemalan Indigenous Women image

The Kateri Tekakwitha Fund exists to empower Guatemalan women to break the cycle of poverty by having a positive influence on their lives, families, and communities, through collaboration, education, and support, so that the next generation will be able to reach their full potential.

Several programs exist to support this mission, confronting the reality of a country where 60 percent of the Indigenous population lives in extreme poverty and providing resources to Indigenous women as they work toward educational and career goals.

Internship Program

The Kateri Internship program was launched in 2009. The program is designed to help recent high school graduates who are having difficulty with their job search. These women participate in a year-long internship, supported by funding from the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund, during which they gain job skills, professional development, and contacts that can lead to future employment.

The program speaks to the phenomenon of "female brain drain," in which young females are more likely to migrate when they attain higher levels of education but are unable to find adequate employment, as cited in the study "Between Rootedness and the Decision to Migrate" published by Catholic Relief Services. The study found that most people in Guatemala would choose to stay if they had access to basic resources. Given support, women can choose to remain rather than migrate, staying close to families and communities.

More than 50 women have participated in internships since the program’s beginning. Some have been hired for permanent positions at their place of internship.

Emely, who completed an internship at a nonprofit organization, called the experience "one of the best things that has ever happened to me.” During her internship year she supported the grassroots community organization and helped to facilitate women’s groups. "I hope you continue to support more young people so that as this internship helped me, they can also have the same opportunities,” she urged.

Emely with a women's group

The program also includes workshops on professional skills, supporting the women as they move forward in their careers. “They have been a big help to me,” Milvia said about the workshops. She explained that the lesson on interviews was especially helpful to her as she finished her internship at a school and looked ahead to her career. “They gave us some tips and advice and it helps us to be more confident for a job interview."

Scholarship Fund

The purpose of the Kateri Scholarship Fund is to help women to continue their education when they would not be able to do so without financial support.

Over the years, approximately 70 students have received scholarships through the Kateri Education Fund, helping young women continue past the primaria level of education when they would otherwise not be able to afford tuition costs.

In 2022, this program pivoted to focus specifically on students in the healthcare field. Today students pursuing various degrees connected to nursing can receive financial support through Healthcare Scholarships.

The scholarships support women who want to achieve their goals, but lack financial resources to do so. Through these women, however, impacts are felt in their families and in the wider community as they use their skills to give back and provide needed services.

Sonia, a healthcare scholarship recipient, said, "My children and parents are very happy because every day I learn more topics and that helps me to be a better person, as a mother, daughter and citizen that I am."

Program Structure

These programs are made possible through the hard work of the Guatemalan staff, as well as the Guatemalan-based Board of Directors, which helps guide the direction of the programs based on needs in the local communities. These women work in conjunction with the U.S.-based Board of Directors, which also helps to oversee the vision and finances of the nonprofit organization.

Your support makes a difference in the lives of these women. You can give to these programs above or send a check to:

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund

PO Box 906

Pacifica, CA 94044