Program description: Brillaguate provides scholarships, a supportive environment, ongoing mentoring, and tutoring to support young men and women in completing their studies and finding meaningful work.
Location: El Tejar, Chimaltenango
History: In 2015, our friend Sara Morales, who is the director of the El Tejar music program, came to us with an idea proposed by Aracely Cano, a teacher who was in the middle of a master’s program in social work. Aracely noticed the increased number of young women in El Tejar who were working menial jobs, such as collecting recyclables in exchange for pennies, rather than attending school. She proposed a program aimed to help young women in the lowest income bracket in her town. The program started with just 7 young women and began as a scholarship program with monthly meetings to discuss topics around self esteem, healthy relationships, and other helpful themes. The young women quickly formed relationships with each other and gained confidence under the caring guidance of Sara and Aracely.
The scholarship program later expanded to include boys as well. Then during the pandemic, while schools were closed and the students had no access to computers or internet to attend online classes, we brainstormed with Sara and came to the idea of establishing computer centers in several areas of El Tejar where the students could easily walk. A good friend of Senderos, Patrick Haider, made it possible to purchase computers, printers, and internet service for three computer centers around town, located in safe private homes in the neighborhoods where the children live.
After losing nearly 2 years of in-person schooling, it became clear that the Brillaguate students also needed tutoring support, especially in the areas of math, English, and computer skills. Today, the students meet every Saturday morning for tutoring. They have formed a community that supports each other to stay in school in the face of many challenges.
Annual Budget: Senderos, with significant support from Patrick Haider, provides 100% of the budget for the BrillaGuate program. In 2024, that will be $13,680.