MAIA: maximizing potential through education!

The MAIA and Girl Pioneers’ story

MAIA is not your typical organization. Led by Indigenous women for Indigenous girls, MAIA’s mission is to connect talent with opportunity, maximizing the potential of young women to lead transformational change. We believe that with quality education as their tool against adversity, these bold trailblazers will be reshaping their futures, uplifting their communities, and creating a better world for all of us.

Why Indigenous Girls?

We work in Sololá, one of the poorest regions of Guatemala. Here, most girls are forced to marry or become mothers before they turn 18. Access to education is a privilege. We embarked on this journey with a powerful question driving us: How far could these young women go if they had access to the education they deserve?

We call MAIA’s students Girl Pioneersbecause many are the first in their families to continue their education and begin to break cycles of generational poverty.

How do we do it?

We are all about empowering Girl Pioneers to unlock and maximize their full potential! 

Our flagship program is the MAIA Impact School, which is changing the game for education in Guatemala. We serve approximately 250 Girl Pioneers in grades 7-11 through a unique educational approach that focuses equally on academics, socio-emotional intelligence, family engagement, culture, vocal empowerment, student well-being, and sexual and reproductive health.

Once they graduate, Girl Pioneers can continue to the Launch Year Program during which they gain access to vocational orientation, university preparation, workplace readiness training, and valuable internship experiences in the formal economy through our network of local allies.



“Accessing education at MAIA is an opportunity for Girl Pioneers to transform their own lives to receive the quality education they deserve to develop their full potential.”

Vilma Saloj, Director of the MAIA Impact School

How do we know that it works?

Over the years, we have witnessed significant impact and growth of our model and Girl Pioneers. Our approach is based on evidence, and we invest in professional development to continuously improve and refine our programming.

We have seen firsthand the positive changes that have taken place in the lives of Girl Pioneers, from improvements in academic performance to increased confidence and leadership skills. Girl Pioneers are becoming leaders in their communities, breaking down barriers and taking charge of their futures.

We are delighted to welcome 88 new Girl Pioneers to the MAIA Impact School in 2024. These brave young women hail from 45 rural communities in Guatemala and are the eighth generation of future female leaders. They are ready to ignite a ripple effect that will lead to a better world for all of us!

When I applied to the MAIA Impact School, I was a bit insecure about the schedule, and the school is a bit far from my house. But I was sure that I would receive a quality education. I got so excited that I won the scholarship. My dream is to become a pediatrician and help families with limited resources. I will achieve this with perseverance and determination.

Empowered Women, an Infinite Impact!