READING IS POWER - LEER ES PODER
MuJER’s LITERACY PROGRAM:
Literacy is the key to self-empowerment.
The Leer es Poder project is the backbone of MuJER’s programs. This basic literacy class was the first class offered by MuJER, and has continued to serve as the first step toward the self-empowerment of our women. We partner with Guatemala’s national literacy program, CONALFA (Comité Nacional de Alfabetización) and provide one-on-one literacy training.
The personal attention each woman receives in this program is essential to their success. It not only allows the women to leave the program with the ability to read and write, but also with the self-confidence to take full advantages of the other programs MuJER offers. Classes are held at MuJER’s workshop center on a weekly basis, and are completely free of charge for the women.
Learning to read means that a mother can help her children with their homework, completing sixth grade means that she can attend a vocational school or professional program.
ACCELERATED ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
The consequence of more education is more opportunity.
MuJER also partners with CONALFA to enable the women to complete elementary school (grades 3-6). The completion of this course is a significant achievement for the women, many of whom were either unable to complete elementary school or to attend school at all. Upon completing each grade level, our participants receive certificates documenting their newly attained elementary school level. Classes are conducted in small groups, take place once a week, and are free of charge. With the elementary school diploma, MuJER’s students become eligible to pursue a high school diploma. Those who have completed this course have reported an increase in their self-esteem, and many have expressed a desire to continue their studies. They also become better equipped to pursue new professional endeavours if they choose to do so.
The women of our community do not read to their children and have no access to books. Books are extremely expensive in Guatemala and sex workers cannot afford them. The women of our community do not utilize the public library because it is outside the areas they frequent and because individuals cannot borrow books but must read them on the premises.
We have established a lending library of over 300 books at our Empowerment Center. Many of the books are for children and women may take them out to read to their children at home. Women bring their children with them to the Center and we allow their children to pick books to borrow as well.
In a globalized economy, a second language opens the door to many opportunities
MuJER offers two levels on English classes, beginning and intermediate. Our classes are taught by a volunteer professional English instructor as well as by our interns. The classes, which focus on basic conversation, are intended to enable women to find work in the well-paid tourist sector.