The association Ixoqib’ MIRIAM supports young women who have survived violence, several of whom are mothers with limited economic resources, in rebuilding their life projects. The Life Project is the central result for the adolescent women to find a sense of existence that enables them to define goals and overcome them in order to break through the difficulties that arise during their lives. A particular focus is on caring for adolescent mothers together with their children using a cross-generational approach. Our geographical area of operation in this program component, is the departments of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and Alta Verapaz.
From 2010 to date, 206 young victims of violence have been supported, 110 of whom have completed secondary school in various professions.
The following measures are being implemented to support adolescent girls:
Access to school education :Often an act of violence interrupts the educational process, and it is therefore crucial to support adolescent girls in resuming their school education, as this is an essential part of preparing for working life. MIRIAM provides monthly financial assistance of $40.00 to $50.00 for primary and secondary school or vocational training courses during the ten months of the school year, enabling them to pay for books, transportation and a monthly fee at a private educational center if required by the conditions in which they live.
Academic support: Most adolescent girls have a weak basic academic education and sometimes find it difficult to complete the courses; the financial support is accompanied by a tutoring program. In the collective and personalized tutoring sessions, once a month, from 8:00 to 13:00, support is offered in the subjects that cause difficulties to the teenagers. The tutoring hours are given by female university students who are associated with the program and thus repay the support received, and by external professional volunteer teachers, especially in subjects such as mathematics and physics.
Gender courses: The goal of education for active citizenship is to make adolescent girls aware of their individual and collective rights as Mayan women and to encourage their active participation in youth and women’s groups. Its main function is to guide the female students in the elaboration of their life projects and to define their main goals and objectives and the way they want to achieve them. After this initial phase, the adolescent girls deepen their life projects according to different thematic priorities that define, among other things, how they want to live their relationships, marriages, family planning, political participation, personal and cultural identity, defense of their rights.
Artistic expression and political advocacy: As part of the education for active citizenship, artistic expression is provided so that adolescent girls can express their feelings, creativity and sensitivity through art. As part of this action, the choir MIRIAM in Guatemala and the artists’ group Wajxaqib’ Batz in Quetzaltenango were founded to perform at various commemorative events on the above-mentioned themes in defense of the individual and collective rights of children, youth and women. In this way, adolescent girls gain security and trust and lose their fear of public appearances.
New masculinity: The promotion of new masculinities among fathers, brothers and partners of association members is of fundamental importance in order to deconstruct traditional gender roles, promote egalitarian coexistence and shared responsibility.