Maia, as one of the giant stars in our universe, reflects our central objective: to empower Girl Pioneers to be transformational leaders, with ideas, values, and dreams of their own that shine brightly and positively impact their community. Above all, the star is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom.Read More
Brenda grew up in Panajachel and is the firstborn in a family of nine children. Her father did not have the opportunity to go to school, and her mother studied until 2nd grade. When Brenda was born, her father worked as a fisherman and her mother stayed at home. For much of her childhood, Brenda was acutely aware of the challenging conditions that came along with her family’s lack of economic resources. In 2005, things became even more difficult when her family’s home flooded during Hurricane Stan and her father couldn’t fish, which was an important source of income and food for the family. Following that time, she started to work in the morning, cleaning houses and waitressing at small restaurants to help pay her fees for school in the afternoon. She did notice that there were other students whose parents paid for all of their expenses and were able to stay at home in the mornings before school, but says, “I didn’t feel bad because I knew I wanted to achieve my dreams and educate myself.”Read More
I know that with my knowledge and my voice, I am a leader. I can use what I know not only to benefit myself and my family, but also to support my community. I can go far beyond the obstacles that I faced, and if I can do it, I know that it’s possible for the people in my community—they just need support.Read More
Having a teacher with shared life experience is a valuable part of an enriching education. It’s even more important when they speak the same language that students speak at home with their families, when they have overcome similar challenges, and when they understand the cultural and social norms that their students are living within. It demonstrates to students, who previously might have been unsure of whether or not they would even stay in school, that they are capable of graduating if they dedicate themselves to that goal and seek support. It encourages the “if you can do it, so can I” attitude.Read More
Regardless of where exactly she is headed, she knows that education is the path not only to fulfill her dreams, but also to change her society. “Education is important for eliminating violence and having an empowered voice. We have to study to become independent and not have the same experiences as our grandmothers and mothers because of machismo. With education, we will be able to change society, and women will participate more fully.”Read More
World Teachers’ Day reminds us that the right to an education means the right to a qualified teacher. Impact School educators stand before the class as role models, demonstrating the importance of high-quality instruction and support for students. When students are well supported by their educators in an academic environment that encourages them, challenges them, and causes them to grow, they can begin to dream of how they can do the same for others.Read More
Education has the power to transform lives. Teachers can have a profound influence on their students through their instruction, and the lessons learned within the bounds of a classroom are critical. Yet, we also recognize that the teachers of life’s important lessons are found outside the classroom as well.Read More
I want to show my parents and my community that I am a woman, that I have dreams, and that I can achieve many things in my life. I want to create positive change in my community. I know it will be difficult, but I believe in myself, so I know that it is possible. I want to bring joy to my parents, especially to my mother, who has shown me what it means to be a strong woman.Read More
When I finally learned to say things like “I do not agree with this,” “My opinion is,” and “If you gave me the opportunity to prove what I am capable of,” my life changed completely. Then, through my voice, I got scholarships to continue my studies. I spoke up for raises where I worked. I denounced acts of corruption.
I became a leader.Read More
MAIA helped make the trip a success from the beginning. Everything I learned at MAIA, like the values and competencies, was put into practice right away. All of the themes that my mentor taught me were helpful. I used critical thinking, teamwork, and perseverance. I was resilient, responsible, and respectful. MAIA has given me many learning opportunities that have helped me in my life.Read More
The Alianza Program is an opportunity for you to invest in the future of Girl Pioneers (starting first with MAIA Impact School students) while also getting to know them through a variety of meaningful activities designed by mentors and the young women themselves.Read More
What do you think of when you hear the word “culture”? Your mind may have just drifted to the food, language, or clothing of a particular group of people. Celebrating indigenous Mayan culture is a very important aspect of the Starfish Impact School. The school is designed to provide young women with a high-quality education in a space that encourages authentic and profound connection to the values of Mayan culture.Read More
Starfish mentors are a critical part of providing this comprehensive support. They get to know each Girl Pioneer, accompanying her at the familial, personal, and educational level through home visits, individual coaching sessions, and meetings with her Impact School educators. A mentor’s goal is to help each Girl Pioneer work through her emotions and teach her how to navigate challenges, while still working to achieve her goals.Read More
As MAIA Girl Pioneers blaze new trails, the support of their families is a critical part of their education and success. Throughout their lives and educational journeys, the mothers of Girl Pioneers make a significant impact on their daughters. This Mother’s Day, Girl Pioneers honored their mothers by sharing how their moms support them in their education and why they value their mother-daughter relationships.
Angélica about her mom, Paulina:
My mom supports me in different ways so that I can concentrate on my education. She is one of the people who motivates me day by day. She does everything possible so that I can do my homework. I also receive economic and moral support from her.
She is an understanding, hardworking, and unique woman. She always fights for the good of her children. She is very responsible, respectful, and humble. I value these qualities so much because I think she has taught me to be like her.
[I am proud of my mom because] despite the fact that she did not have the opportunity to go to school, she is conscious of the importance of education for us (her children).
My biggest dream for her is that she would form the habit of reading because she is someone who is fascinated by the adventures of other lives. [I also dream] that she would accomplish her dream of launching her business that will benefit other women.
Milsa about her mom, Magdalena:
My mom supports me in different ways, such as my studies. She supports me mentally because she always encourages me to continue moving forward with my studies. Sometimes when I [sleep late in the morning because I] am tired from my homework, she wakes me up. She also supports me with the breakfast and lunch that I take to school.
The things that I value about my mom are her efforts because she is always there to support me if I encounter an obstacle. I also appreciate the love that she gives me. She always says, “Things must be done calmly.” I value her words a lot because not all mothers say that. I value the work that she does to keep my family moving forward.
I feel proud to have a mother who is peaceful, responsible, and, above all, loving towards her children! I am proud to have a bold mom because if she has goals, she achieves them through a lot of dedication.
My biggest dream for my mom and her future is that she will feel proud of her daughter because she will be graduating from university and a professional. In this way, I can help take care of her and protect her. [I also dream that] she will have good health so that she will be able to live with my family for a long time.
Evelyn about her mom, Rosita:
[My mom supports me in my education with] economic support, and helping with daily problems and other academic work, even if it is helping me to paint, cut, and/or draw. Sometimes when I don’t have time to cook, she makes me something to eat and brings me atol (a traditional Guatemalan corn cider) if I am doing homework.
I value her advice, love, effort, and the support that she has always given me. Even though life can be painful; it is beautiful at my mom’s side.
I feel proud of her because she has taught me how to work and dedicate myself to my studies. Above all, [I am] proud to have an innovative, intelligent, hardworking, and entrepreneurial mom who perseveres, and it makes me happy.
How has your mother played a vital role in your life? What do you value about the mothers that you know? In honor of the important women in your life, you can support Girl Pioneers and their mothers who are helping to shape their experiences. Give today and partner with MAIA moms who are raising their daughters to be empowered leaders.
“When I first started studying, I never envisioned plans or goals for myself. I was stuck in the moment. With MAIA’s coaching, I made a life plan for myself that helped me to foresee challenges and work toward their solutions. I never imagined that going to school and becoming a teacher could help me transform my community, but now it’s happening. I used to know nothing of the outside world, and now I’m teaching social studies to young women, constantly learning from them while they learn from me.” - ChonitaRead More
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.Read More
Climbing San Pedro Volcano is a favorite activity among Girl Pioneers, Starfish staff, and visitors. For us, though, it is much more than a fun tradition. It symbolizes the steep climbs that Girl Pioneers encounter in their own lives and the teamwork, support network, and perseverance that help them overcome obstacles.Read More
In January 2017, we took a huge leap of faith and opened the MAIA 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. We want to share reflections from our staff on the successes, challenges, and lessons learned during our first year of operation.Read More