This scholarship program under the care of Redwood Forest Meeting in Santa Rosa, Calif., has been working in Guatemala for social justice through education and by addressing the root causes of migration since 1973. The mission of Progresa is to help Guatemalans with limited resources obtain a higher education. Most students come from rural areas. Nearly 90 percent are Mayan, and over 50 percent are women; all are poor or very poor. They are assisted so that they will be better able to help their communities. Each year the program aids them in planning and executing community service projects in their home communities.
Progresa’s Guatemalan staff switched from in-person contacts and workshops to electronic means to keep in regular contact with students during the pandemic. Initially, the students felt isolated and struggled to handle online classes in communities with weak telephone and Internet signals. Progresa set up twice weekly online workshops aimed at getting them to know and support each other and to recognize that they belong to the Progresa family. In the end, in-country staff were successful and learned new ways to provide support and build community that Progresa will carry forward. Progresa was supporting 83 students in the spring of 2020, 93 in 2021, and 95 students in 2022.