At MAIA, we are a team of committed, enthusiastic, and brave women and girls. We are determined to redefine our trajectory and that of our families, to work for our community, and we believe that a profound change is possible so we can live with dignity and equity.
We are honored to represent the people who make up our team, the Girl Pioneers and their families. We firmly believe that change is possible, that every woman who is part of our educational community is talented, has infinite potential, and can break any status quo. Our strength and hope comes from our own stories.
We are two Indigenous women who come from the same communities as the Girl Pioneers, and we have families that face challenges similar to the families of the Girl Pioneers. Today we are in this position thanks to the entire support network that boosted our talent. We had powerful allies along the way who made our potential and talent flourish.
At MAIA, we believe that education is the base to achieve sustainable change in our communities. Therefore, our objective for 2023 is to guarantee that all Girl Pioneers in our program have the opportunity to have a solid support network around them and a quality education that helps strengthen their abilities and talent and brings them closer to opportunities that other girls and adolescents in their social, economic, and geographical context usually do not have access to.
We want our society and the world to learn more about the stories and capabilities of each of the Girl Pioneers. We want to share their potential, that of the Indigenous population to which we belong, as well as the challenges we face. We want to build alliances and networks where we can play a corresponding role with trust and transparency, to create a world with more justice and equity. We want to be a reference showing that it is possible to break the status quo, stereotypes about Indigenous women, and the traditional roles that society has imposed on us
In Guatemala, women represent 51.2% of the population (UN Women, 2014), but we are always presented as victims and not as agents of change and leaders. We are aware that assuming the role of Co-Executive Directors is not an easy task; it requires perseverance, tenacity, and a support network to navigate in a world that is not usually created for us.
Breaking this status quo generates a lot of impact in all dimensions of life; however, we keep in mind that we must never lose our essence as Indigenous women, our values, and our worldview. When leaving our communities, we do not forget our qawinaq (our people), qach’ab’äl (our way of being), qab´anikil chuqa’ qana’oj (our knowledge). Even though we suffer derogatory comments and discrimination for proudly wearing our clothing and speaking our language, we have learned from our families to share what is ours, to live in the community, and highlight our roots. We arm ourselves with strength every day to face violence and discrimination in its different forms, and we raise our voices.
As leaders, we are the reflection of each one of our students. We see in them talent, desire, ideals, and strength, but also the limitations and challenges that we ourselves face. We see with concern and disappointment that things have not progressed much since we were in primary and elementary school, when there where no high schools in our communities and the opportunity to advance at this level was almost impossible. As citizens of this country, inequality affects us in the deepest way, but it should matter to us equally because the only way to achieve development is to see each other as equals and invest in children and youth.
We dream of seeing more young women graduating from high school, continuing their education in university, having a formal job, and deciding for themselves, owning their future, and redefining our history.
Getting to this point is an ambitious process and path. It is not easy, but it is not impossible either. We know that as a community we can continue advancing towards a society with equity for women and girls, but it requires strength and effort from all of us in the spaces we occupy.
WE HAVE ALREADY STARTED THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER WITH THE GIRL PIONEERS, THEIR FAMILIES,
THE MAIA TEAM, AND OUR ALLIES. WILL YOU JOIN US?
Appropriate that my first blog in MAIA relates to my departure. This communication will hopefully help you understand the intricacies of MAIA’s most recent leadership transition.