Ester – A MAIA Girl Pioneer globally recognized as a leader and changemaker

Advocacy and action to change the world one step ar a time.

Unlocking leadership potential is one of MAIA’s four goals for Girl Pioneers. Girl Pioneers are outliers whose bold trajectory will inspire girls across Guatemala and lay the foundations for a more just and inclusive society. 

Ester, a young Maya Kaqchikel woman who is part of the first generation of MAIA high school graduates, was selected as one of the very first cohorts of 100 Global RISE Winners! Ester, who is planning to study political science in university, is the only young leader selected in the Central American region.

RISE is an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust that looks for youth who have innovative solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems. More than 50,000 youth applied, but only 100 were chosen as Global Winners.

Ester demonstrates tremendous leadership potential combined with a profound understanding of the key challenges her generation is facing in rural Guatemala. With an intelligent use of the skills learned through MAIA’s holistic curriculum and her empowered voice, she advocates for equal rights and is taking action to increase women’s presence and participation in all spheres of society.

As a Global RISE Winner, Ester is creating a workshop series for young women in her community and an innovative online platform where they can share their stories. The initiative is called: Empodero Mi Historia – I Empower My Story.

The project comes from acknowledging that many young people ignore their reality, the power of their voice, and the impact of their stories. Also, because the means they have are limited, or they are not aware of the influence that they can have,” shares Ester.

Today, Ester is working with girls between 15 and 20 years of age from her community through workshops where they learn about two key themes: empowerment and literature.

In the empowerment section, participants learn about social reality, how to identify societal expectations and norms, and how those impact their lives. They also learn about gender equity and their rights. […] The objective of this topic is to encourage young girls to change their perspective and have the initiative to express it,” affirms Ester.

To externalize their new knowledge, they require tools,” which explains the focus on literature. “This theme is divided into three modules: poetry, storytelling, and anecdotes. […] Using their voices is an important skill they need to develop, and through narration or writing, they will practice it,” states Ester.

After completing the workshops, these young women will use their empowered voices to capture their histories and aspirations and publish them on youth-led social media platforms.

With this international recognition, Ester is now part of a global network of extraordinary young leaders who demonstrate a commitment to working in the service of others and the brilliance and potential to build a better world.

Girl Pioneers are empowered to empower, and Ester is evidencing this by changing the status quo in her community and confidently walking on a path of success and justice.

Empowered Women, an Infinite Impact!

The power of giving opportunities to girls

Lucero and Wendy, Girl Pioneers of the MAIA Impact School, participated as guest speakers at the 2023 Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) Regional event.

They are demonstrating that increasing women’s leadership

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