Progresa: Guatemala Friends Scholarship Program

Progresa’s mission is to provide access to in-country educational and community development opportunities in order to bring choice into the lives of poor Guatemalans and enable them to participate in their country’s growth and development. Although Guatemala has the highest GDP in Central America, it also has the highest rate of poverty in Central America.

This year, Progresa is providing scholarships to 90 university students, 76 of whom speak one of Guatemala’s 22 indigenous Mayan languages. There is one secondary student as well. This year, 67 recipients are women. Mayan-language-speaking students graduate in careers such as law, medicine, nursing, engineering, agronomy, and education, and work in their respective communities. They empower not only themselves and their families, but the community and the country as well.

Over the 49 years Progresa has been active, many networks of cooperation and access to opportunity have formed. Progresa encourages the students by providing emotional, social, and material support. The community service portion of the scholarships helps each student build an impressive resume. Progresa students have many leadership opportunities in which they share their expertise with the Progresa community and in their communities at large. Scholarship recipients are able to build a future for themselves and their families within their communities, and avoid the dangers of emigration.

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