After all these years of work in the communities high above the Polochic valley, supporting self-sustaining communities build schools, water systems, health centers, wood-saving stoves, and other educational projects, we have certainly improved the quality of life of hundreds of families. However, recently I made a stop along the way and I can see that extreme poverty still exists. Schools are without teachers or educational material. Health centers lack the attention of highly skilled and trained personnel, and they lack some of the most basic drugs and supplies. With this in mind, we have initiated a new stage to further help us eradicate extreme poverty. We have begun to focus our efforts on the economic development of these communities, using their own resources and acquired skills, enabling them to generate wealth so that families can then afford the education and health so desperately needed in the development of their families and communities.
I am very pleased to say that each team member of CHOICE Guatemala is a tool to eliminate poverty in each community committed to sustainable development. Surely the way forward is not easy; but with all of our friends and partners, we will help meet our goals by continuing to work and establish Sikaabe, our Vocational and Agricultural Center for Training and Modernization. Sikaabe is promoting entrepreneurship and community producers. Local students of all levels of education in our region are coming to learn valuable skills in agricultural and livestock knowledge, in technology, and in other areas of construction, trade, and industry.
My dream is that every young person has the opportunity to start their own business, and/or continue their studies with dignity, to eventually overcome their poverty and improve their community. I extend a cordial invitation to all those who believe that poverty is a state of mind and can be eradicated by providing opportunities for those who sincerely want to overcome it. I believe without a doubt that this is possible, I have seen and I have lived it.
My eternal gratitude goes out to all of our friends and partners who believe in us. Please know that your efforts and your donations have succeeded in changing lives. We have a long way to go. Join us and together we will bring opportunities to all who tirelessly seek it. "I believe that poverty can be eradicated with local sustainable vocational and training opportunities." Let’s build on what we have accomplished and create a place in Guatemala to be proud of and one where many young Guatemalans will come to learn, to progress, and to ultimately break the cycle of extreme poverty.