Para Adelánte is very excited to announce that we have been
accepted to GlobalGiving’s Accelerator Program. GlobalGiving is a 501(c)3
non-profit organization based in the United States which provides a global
crowdfunding platform for grassroots charitable projects like ours. Since 2002, over 800,000 donors have raised over $340 million to support more than 20,000 projects in 170 countries on this platform.
We have until September 27 to raise at least $5,000 from at
least 40 donors to be admitted into the GlobalGiving family, which would give
us access to individual and corporate donors all over the world. It would also
provide us with the opportunity to learn from and work with organizations like
ours. We are very excited about this opportunity and hope that you will support us through donations and/or sharing our crowdfunding campaign.
GlobalGiving can be researched here https://www.globalgiving.org/.
Charity Navigator rates it as a four-star nonprofit, which is the highest
rating an organization can achieve.
Thank you from Para Adelante and our scholarship recipients, their families and their communities!
Estamos emocionados presentarle a una de las dos nuevas beneficiarios de becas de Para Adelante – Dolores Tziná Mendoza, que estudiará trabajo social para ayudar a otros. Por favor, vea su biografía abajo.
Naci en una familia muy humilde con principios y valores morales, padre de oficio jornalero, madre ama de casa sin ningún nivel de escolaridad con cinco hermanos y yo soy la última de mis hermanos. Mis padres han luchado con esmero siempre por el sustento de la familia.
Tuve que aguantar hambre porque no había dinero suficiente para darme el gusto con las comidas o con alguna refacción si apenas alcanzaba para las tortillas y café en nuestro hogar. Casi nunca llevaba dinero de mi refacción en la escuela; no es porque mis padres no me querían dar, simplemente porque no nos alcanzaba. Sin importar pude lograr con mi sexto primario pasando hambre, careciendo de vestimenta, simultáneamente mis compañeros se burlaban de mi porque no había más que ofrecer a mis compañeros del salón ni podía convivir con ellos por mi nivel social, porque me discriminaban.
Durante mi niñez y mi nivel de estudio primario, sufri tanto por conseguir el dinero para mis útiles, para los trabajos o tareas que se pedía en clases y era casi que a diario. Y cada vez que pedía dinero a mi madre para mis trabajos, siempre mi respondía que “No había dinero” “Que el dinero apenas alcanzaba para la comida” y ya me daba pena pedir dinero a mis padres. Desde ahí pense en colaborar un poco en la casa tan siquiera que ese dinero me ayudará para la realización de mis trabajos de clases. Yo era una niña con objetivos, dedicada a mis estudios, responsable y quería siempre estudiar y no dejar a medias. Tanto mi nivel primario como básico trabajaba medio dia en mostacillas, bordados y el dinero que ganaba me sirvió mucho para el avance de mi formación académica y para las medicinas de mi hermana Josefa.
Mis dos hermanos no tienen preparación académica y solo posee de oficio agricultor y las otras dos hermanas eran ama de casa, total somos cinco hermanos; Yo soy la última de los cinco hermanos y soy la única quien continuó con mis estudios hasta que llegó a graduame de Maestra de Educación Primaria Urbana.
Soy una joven muy diferente en mi manera de pensar y yo cumplo y me entrego a lo que me propone en la vida, me podría decir es la LUZ entre mi núcleo familiar, máxime que actualmente cuenta con mis dos hermanos enfermos Josefa y Pedro. Josefa de esquizofrenia y Pedro con una discapacidad, y mi madre, Ana enferma de 75 años.
En el año 2006 me gradué de Maestra de Educación Primaria Urbana donde por escaso recurso económico ya no pude continuar con mis estudios en la Universidad porque en el mismo año, falleció mi padre; donde empecé una vida independiente buscando empleo para poder llevar para el sustento de mi hogar cubriendo las necesidades básicas de mi familia.
Actualmente soy hija, madre soltera, estudiante de quinto semestre de la carrera de trabajo social, sede departamento de Sololá, estudio los fines de semana; con un hijo de nueve años y sigo con mi lucha de dia a dia de llegar a ser algún una Licenciada en Trabajo Social mi objetivo primordial de poder contribuir y ser un agente de cambio dentro de la comunidad.
En el año 2017, convertir mi esperanza en realidad de haber dado un paso más en mi formación académica de mi nivel universitario, actualmente me ingreso en quinto ciclo de la carrera de Trabajo Social en la Universidad de Mariano Gálvez de Sololá, departamento de Sololá.
Agradezco al Ser Supremo por estar siempre a mi lado y de escuchar siempre mis suplicas, peticiones, necesidades que tengo como humana y de ser mi amigo fiel. Le pido a Dios que derrame sus bendiciones a los bienhechores de este Asociación Para Adelante que los siga guiando durante el trayecto de sus labores en este año 2019. Muchas Gracias.
We are excited to introduce one of two new Para Adelante scholarship recipients – Dolores Tziná Mendoza, who will be studying Social Work in order to help others overcome their own traumas and difficult pasts. Please see her bio below.
I was born in a very humble family with strong moral principles and values, to a day laborer father and a housewife mother with no education and one of six siblings, myself being the youngest. My parents have always fought hard for the family’s livelihood.
I had to endure hunger because there was not enough money to indulge myself with regularly meals, for if we had more than one meal a day, it was barely enough for the tortillas and coffee in our home. I almost never took money for my school meal, not because my parents did not want to give me money, but simply because we did not have enough. Despite this, I did achieve my primary studies, although starving and lacking in clothes. My classmates made fun of me, because there was nothing I could offer them and I could not live with them because of my social level, because they discriminated against me.
During my childhood and my primary studies, I struggled almost daily to come up with the money for my supplies, to complete the tasks that were assigned. Every time I asked my mother for money for my work, the answer was always “There is no money” or “The money is barely enough for food” and already felt bad asking my parents for money. From there I thought about helping in the house with finances, so that this money will help me to carry out my class work. I was a child with goals, dedicated to my studies, responsible and always wanted to study and complete my studies. While going to school, I worked part time in crafting beads and embroidery and the money I earned was very helpful for the advancement of my academic training and for medicine for my sister, Josefa.
We are five siblings and my siblings have no academic training. One is a farmer, while the other two sisters are housewives, and one of my brothers is disabled. I am the youngest and the only one who continued with my studies until I graduated as a Teacher of Urban Primary Education.
I am a very different young woman in my way of thinking and I follow through and dedicate myself to my goals in life. I could say I am the light among my family, especially since we currently have two sick siblings, Josefa and Pedro. Pedro is disabled; Josefa suffers from schizophrenia and my mother, Ana, deals with sickness in her older age of 75.
In 2006, I graduated as a Teacher of Urban Primary Education where, due to scarce economic resources, I could not continue with my studies at the University because in the same year, my father passed away. This led me start a life of looking for a job to be able to take care of the needs in my home, covering the basic needs of my family and sick siblings and mother.
I am currently a daughter, single mother, student of the fifth semester of the career of Social Work, headquartered in Solola, and I study on weekends. While raising my nine-year-old son, I continue with my day-to-day struggle to become a graduate in Social Work with my primary objective of being able to contribute and be an agent of change within the community.
In 2017, to turn my hope into reality I have taken another step in my academic training at my university level and am currently entering the fifth cycle of the career of Social Work at the University of Mariano Gálvez de Sololá, department of Sololá.
I thank the Supreme Being for always being by my side and always listening to my supplications, requests, needs that I have as a human being and being my faithful friend. I ask God to pour out his blessings to the benefactors of this Para Adelante Association that will continue to guide them during the journey of their labors in this year 2019. Many Thanks!
Estamos emocionados presentarle a una de las dos nuevos beneficiarios de becas de Para Adelante – Angélica María Quisque Alquijay, que estudiará psicología para ayudar a otros. Por favor, vea su biografía abajo.
Mi nombre es Angélica María Quisque Alquijay, nací en Sumpango departamento de Sacatepéquez Guatemala. Soy la sexta de siete hermanos. Mis papas son de origen humilde. Desde que tengo recuerdos, siempre ha sido duro lograr lo poco qué tenemos. Mi vida ha sido dura desde niña, cuando tenía 3 años de edad mi mamá muere por motivo de un accidente que le provoco un parto de alto riesgo porque ella estaba embarazada de mi séptima hermana. Me toco crecer sin mi mamá y mi papá nunca se dio cuenta que solo éramos unos niños, mis hermanos y yo, y que necesitábamos de él. De él solo recibimos palabras duras y muchos golpes físicos, él siempre me hacia entender que yo no era inteligente y que quería hijos mejores. Siempre inferior a él, así pasaron los años.
Cuando tenía 9 años mi papá decide unirse a otra persona para rehacer su vida pero en donde yo no seria parte de eso. Para ese entonces yo iba a la primaria en una escuela pública, no tenía atención en mi casa, la atención de mi papa era para su esposa y sigue siendo para ella, él no se preguntaba si tenía zapatos o un lápiz o si tenía lo necesario. Teniendo la edad de 13 años logre terminar mi primaria y mi papá me dice que no es necesario seguir estudiando. Y entonces me toca trabajar, empecé trabajando en un atienda a unas cuadras de la casa, no muy amable la señora por cierto, cinco meses después entre a trabajar en lugar donde se empacan verduras: ejotes, arvejas cosas así, en donde el trabajo se realiza más por las noches. El trabajo era duro y cansado. Desde que logre ganarme mis primeros quetzales, me toco ayudar con los gastos de la casa “aportar mi parte” decía mi papá. En esa empacadora trabaje por 7 años. Pero había algo que soñaba poder estudiar cómo lo hacían los demás. Cuando los veía salir con sus uniformes y sus cosas, era frustrante para mi no tener esa oportunidad.
A la edad de 19 años creo que fue la primera vez que tome una decisión para mi bien ponerme a estudiar los fines de semana y así lo hice. También me puse a tocar puertas de las personas para poder encontrar un trabajo porque me vi obligada a dejar el anterior por motivos de salud. Logre encontrar un trabajo cuidando niños y limpiando, así fue como pague mis básicos y saque adelante las responsabilidades de la casa. Al iniciar mi diversificado fue otro reto más para mi vida. Yo se que ya era mayor de edad para ese entonces y sabia valerme por mi misma, pero siempre es necesario contar con el apoyo de los papas y de la familia y es muy triste no tenerlo. Vivir en tantas carencias en donde el calor de hogar no existe, ni las comodidades necesarias. Estar tan sola y ser alguien que es un cero a la izquierda y sentir que no sirves para nada y menos para esta vida y aparte de todo eso cumplir con responsabilidades que no te corresponden y no tener la fuerza para decir no.
Hoy en día sigo con la responsabilidad de un hermano mayor a causa de un accidente, el queda con discapacidades físicas y mentales severas desde hace 25 años, de quien no puedo ni debo dejarlo a su suerte y hasta que me permita la vida lo voy a seguir ayudando. Son responsabilidades o cargas que impiden seguir construyendo mis sueños. Se que debería de haber formado mi propio hogar pero es algo que me da miedo fallarles a los míos cómo me fallaron a mi. Por estas razones quiero ser una mujer que logre sus sueños, que alcance mis metas para ayudar a los demás de alguna forma o manera. Quiero quitarme mis miedos y darme la satisfacción de que soy importante y que tengo la capacidad y el amor para lograr lo que sea en la vida.
Me inquieta la idea de impartir charlas, pláticas, talleres que ayuden a cambiar la manera de pensar de los seres humanos, la manera de ver la vida una equidad entre hombres y mujeres en donde nadie es más qué nadie, con las mismas oportunidades. Orientando a la mujeres maltratadas, niños abusados, explotados, jóvenes que se sienten sin rumbo, en fin tanto que hacer por las familias y sobre todo en nuestro caso de nosotros que nuestro origen es indígena la forma de pensar y de una equidad no es muy accesible.
Antes de ayudar a alguien más, estoy segura que la que tiene que cambiar y ser alguien mejor soy yo, luego ayudar a los que me rodean y seguir con el círculo y poder llegar a donde hoy no lo imagino y hacer este mundo un lugar mejor.
We are excited to introduce one of two new Para Adelante scholarship recipients – Angélica María Quisque Alquijay, who will be studying Psychology in order to help others overcome their own traumas and difficult pasts. Please see her bio below.
My name is Angélica María Quisque Alquijay, I was born in Sumpango part of Sacatepéquez Guatemala. I am the sixth of seven siblings. My parents are of humble origin. Since I can remember, it has always been hard to achieve with what little we had. My life has been hard ever since I was a child. When I was three years old, my mother died giving birth to my secenth sister during a high risk delivery giving induced by an accident. I grow up without my mother and my father never realized that we were just children, my brothers and I, and that we needed him. From him, we only received harsh words and many physical blows. He always made me think that I was not intelligent and that he wanted better children. He always viewed as inferior to him and so the years went by.
When I was 9 years old, my father remarried in order to rebuild his life, but once in which I was not a part of. By then I was going to elementary school in a public school. I had no attention in my house, my dad’s attention was all for his wife and it is still for her. He did not ask if we had shoes or a pencil or if we needed anything. When I was 13 years old, I finished my primary school and my father told me that it was not necessary to continue studying and that I have to go to work. I started working a few blocks from the house for a not very kind woman. Five months later, I went to work at a place where vegetables are packed: green beans, peas, etc. where the work was done mostly at night. The work was hard and tiring. Since I managed to earn my first quetzals (Guatemalan currency), I had to help with the expenses of the house “to contribute my share” my father said. In that packing house, I worked for 7 years. But there was something in me that I dreamed of being able to study just how others did it. When I saw them come out with their uniforms and their things, it was frustrating for me not to have that opportunity.
At the age of 19 was the first time I made a decision for myself – to go to school on weekends and I did. I also started to knock on people’s doors so I could find a job, because I was forced to leave the previous one due to health reasons. I managed to find a job taking care of children and cleaning, that’s how I paid for my basic expenses and carried out the responsibilities of the house. Starting my secondary schooling was another challenge in my life. I know that I was older then and I knew how to take care of myself, but it is always necessary to have the support of parents and family and it is very sad that I did not have that. I was living in many little efficiencies, where there was no heat, nor the basic necessary comforts. Being so alone and feeling like a nobody, feeling that you are not worth anything for this life, and on top of that having to fulfill responsibilities that are not your own, yet not having the strength to say no.
Nowadays I continue with the responsibility of a disabled older brother injured in an accident. He has had severe physical and mental disabilities for 25 years. I cannot and should not leave him to his fate and as I long as live and can help him, I will. These are responsibilities that deter me from continuing my dreams. I know I should have started my own home, but I do not want to fail my brother, as I was failed when I was young and needed help. For these reasons I want to be a woman who achieves her dreams, who reaches my goals to help others in one way or another. I want to overcome my fears and recognize that I am important and that I have the ability and love to achieve anything in life.
I am anxious about the idea of giving talks, workshops, etc. that can help to change the way of people think, the way of seeing life as equal between men and women, where no one is above another, where all have the same opportunities, but I still want to pursue it. Guiding battered women, abused children, exploited young people who feel aimless, with so much to do for their families and especially in our case that our origins are indigenous and the way of thinking towards equality is not common or readily accessible.
I also recognize that before helping someone else, I am sure that the one who has to change and be someone better is me, then I can help those around me and continue with the circle and be able to make this world a better place.
Para Adelante had a booth in the vendor’s area at the annual MommyCon event, which this year was held in Orlando, Florida on September 3rd. Karin Braunsberger and Richard Flamm worked our table and help spread the word about our mission. We sold a few items too!
Many attendees of MommyCon expressed interest in our upcoming fund-raising campaign we are planning on Indiegogo. We will be offering for sale many items that the artisan weavers have made in San Juan La Laguna and also some woolens from Quetzaltenago (it is a bit colder there).
All the profits from the sales will go to support college degrees for Mayan women.
Janan Talafer at 83 Degrees reports: Tampa Bay area college students learn global social entrepreneurship in Guatemala
MBA students from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg went to Guatemala with big ideas and a big vision, ready to share what they were learning about how to achieve corporate success.
But the women weavers in the local artisan cooperatives in San Juan la Laguna, a remote village in Latin America, had a much smaller dream.
They just want to make enough money to feed their families and afford the paper and pencils so their kids could go to school.
To say it was a life-changing experience for the students was an understatement.
“I was thinking way grander,” says Nina Mahmoudi, marketing manager for the City of St. Petersburg. “I thought we’d go there and figure out how to sell their textiles as fair trade products or possibly get them featured in a national fashion magazine.
“What they really needed help with was translating their story into a simple, tabletop display,” says Mahmoudi. “The whole experience was very touching. These women work extremely hard for pennies. It really made me redefine what a work ethic is.”
Mahmoudi is among the USFSP MBA students whose lives have been changed through a unique spring break study abroad trip. Led by Karin Braunsberger, Ph.D., USFSP professor of marketing in the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, the trip is part of a class called “Social Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets.”
On the shore of Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala, the students spend a week honing their business skills by helping the local women’s weaving cooperatives develop a marketing plan and identify new opportunities to earn more money.
Experiencing cultural challenges
Richard Flamm is a research scientist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and a courtesy faculty member at the USFSP College of Business. He’s also Braunsberger’s husband and an adviser for the Guatemalan trips.
“It’s all about helping the co-ops increase sales, but it can be very challenging for the students,” says Flamm. “It’s sometimes hard for them to remember that they’re not in the U.S. any more. The same rules don’t apply and there are also cultural differences.”
Braunsberger points out that not only is San Juan La Laguna a traditional Mayan town where people still practice many of the Mayan traditions, but they speak Tx’utujil, rather than Spanish. The poverty level is high and most of the men are agricultural laborers.
The women grow up learning how to weave, using skills handed down over hundreds of years, says Braunsberger. The money they make by selling their crafts to tourists supplements the family income and helps put food on the table.
Eric Douthirt is interim director of Graduate and Certificate Programs at the USFSP College of Business. Two years ago, when he was still in the MBA program, he traveled to Guatemala with the group.
“I had heard from alumni that had previously gone on the trip that it was a transformative experience,” says Douthirt. “I wanted to do something with the skills I was acquiring in the MBA program that would make a difference for people in need.”
He quickly saw that one of the biggest roadblock the co-ops face is a critical supply-demand problem. Far too many goods were being produced for the amount of tourist traffic in the village.
“Our group decided to focus on helping differentiate the co-op we worked with,” says Douthirt. “We developed ‘template tags’ in both English and Spanish that would tell the story behind each product. That idea was that tourists might feel a greater connection to the product if they knew more about the woman who created it.”
Bringing lessons back home
Chrissy Kramer went to Guatemala in the spring of 2014 when she was enrolled in the USFSP MBA program. Today, she is an administrative services specialist with the Girls Inc. National Resource Center in Indianapolis, where she manages the national scholarship program.
Originally from Indiana, Kramer says she chose to attend USFSP for a few different reasons, including its reputation and the classwork it offered in corporate social responsibility, a major interest of hers.
“The trip to Guatemala was truly the highlight of my two years at the school,” says Kramer. “First-hand immersion in a culture that has no comprehension of luxury or even leisure time, was eye-opening. It was quite humbling that the women at Manos Especiales cooperative couldn’t even afford to buy raw materials to make a new product until they sold something else in the store.”
But on the other hand, says Kramer, she was impressed with the women’s basic business savvy given their lack of formal education. Even more rewarding was the impact the students had on the community.
“The small changes that we were able to implement may seem superficial on the radar of our own lives,” says Kramer, “but the community reaction to our presence and service was very powerful.”
Building Trust is Critical David Allen was older than most of the MBA students in his group, who were their 20s and 30s. A 50s-something father of three, Allen is VP of Allen Industries, which produces commercial signage for companies around the world.
He says one of the reasons he went on the Guatemalan trip was to gain more in-depth understanding of different cultures and the challenges of doing business in emerging markets. One of the biggest cultural differences he noticed was the importance of building relationships before diving right in to conduct business.
“We had build their trust first before we could ask some very delicate questions about their personal finances and their lives, and about business secrets they might not want other co-ops to know,” says Allen.
Just getting to the village, which is in a remote part of the country was an adventure, Allen relates. Then there was the issue with language. The villagers only spoke Mayan.
“Our conversations would be translated into Spanish and then into Mayan,’’ says Allen. “Sometimes it wasn’t translated correctly. We always wanted to make sure we were getting across the right information.”
Among the group’s many recommendations: creating a spreadsheet for better accounting and tracking of inventory, suggestions for how to improve product displays, and ideas for new products, including a pair of hiking pants with handy pockets and belt loops.
The culmination of the trip was a presentation of each groups’ recommendations to the town. “It was very emotional, “ says Allen. “The co-op was in tears during the presentation. They were so happy and appreciative for what we had done.”
Allen enjoyed the experience so much he and his wife and one of their sons made a return trip this past year.
Nonprofit provides scholarships
A senior tax accountant at MetLife in Tampa, Vanessa Ferrer was so moved by her experience on the Guatemalan trip that she decided to launch a nonprofit organization called Para Adelante. Para Adelante raises funds to provide college education scholarships for women in Latin America.
“Vanessa spent a lot of time thinking about how to permanently help the women in San Juan la Laguna,” says Braunsberger. “We did a lot of brainstorming and discussed how education is the key to ending the cycle of poverty.“ To date, Para Adelante has funded two scholarships — one woman is pursuing a law degree and the other, a degree in social work.
“Having a college degree is extremely rare; many of the women do not even have a primary education,” says Ferrer. “It is so rewarding to be able to help them.”
Funding from Para Adelante not only pays for the women’s tuition and books, but also for child care and transportation to get to school.
The women are required to “give back” by volunteering their time in the local library and sharing what they are learning with the community.
“Research shows that helping women helps the whole community,” says Braunsberger. “The women invest back into the community through their children and they want everyone to have better living conditions.” As president of St. Petersburg-based Bridge Builders, Chris Eaton puts together the trip USFSP trip to Guatemala each year.