MAIA is an organization led by Indigenous women for Indigenous women. MAIA is empowering generations of young women through a holistic educational model with an equal focus on academics, culture and identity, socioemotional intelligence, personal development, and family engagement that together are key to creating a generation of empowered female leaders who will lead systemic change.
One of MAIA’s principal programs is the MAIA Impact School, Central America’s first secondary school specifically designed to connect the talents of rural Indigenous young women with the opportunities of the 21st century. We call our students Girl Pioneers because many are the first in their family to continue their education and break cycles of generational poverty.
Guatemala has the worst gender-equity gap in the hemisphere, our history is full of challenges that still continue today: more than half the population is living in poverty and massive waves of migration out of the country in search for better opportunities. Indigenous girls face four types of discrimination: for being Indigenous, women, poor, and from a rural community.
In Guatemala only 20% of young Indigenous girls graduate from high school, and this is why in 2017 we created the Impact School. MAIA believes that the best way to address the world’s challenges is through educating girls. MAIA's theory of change focuses on intensive, personalized services for a group of girls and their families so they will catalyze widespread change for many.
MAIA provides a holistic education and empowerment program at the Impact School for 276 Indigenous girls and their families, representing approximately 2,000 beneficiaries from over 40 of the most underserved communities in Sololá, Guatemala. The program is building a more equitable, just, and prosperous Guatemala by increasing retention rates of Indigenous girls in secondary school, empowering them and their families to lead healthy, choice-filled lives, and improving local capacity and sustainability through capacity building for program educators.
MAIA defined four goals for the Impact School graduate:
○ Economic autonomy—her mobility and decision-making are not impeded by economic dependence (a formal job making above the minimum wage);
○ Lifelong learning—for her, high school graduation is a starting point, not a finish line (at least 15 years of formal education);
○ Forming her family on her terms—she can choose when and with whom she will form a family (delaying marriage and motherhood until an average age of 25); and
○ Empowered to empower—she will use her talents and opportunities to positively transform her family, community, and country (holding leadership positions).
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