Breaking The Cycle: Empowering Guatemalans Through Skills Training

Breaking The Cycle: Empowering Guatemalans Through Skills Training

In the picturesque landscapes of Guatemala, a country known for its rich culture and vibrant traditions, lies a stark reality faced by many women and families. Behind the captivating facade, countless individuals are trapped in the grips of extreme poverty, with limited access to education and opportunities for a brighter future. According to recent statistics, an alarming percentage of Guatemalan women struggle to break free from the cycles of poverty, facing barriers that hinder their progress. Poverty rates in Guatemala are among the highest in Latin America, with approximately 59% of the population living below the poverty line. Moreover, women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty, with many lacking access to education, economic resources, and opportunities for advancement. 

Which is why, in our relentless pursuit of empowering women and communities, we are excited to announce the upcoming launch of our very first Empower Lab cohort, a transformative 6-month training program. With a strong focus on breaking the cycle of limited opportunities for Guatemalan women and families, the Empower Lab will equip select students with marketable skills, providing them with the tools for upward mobility and a brighter future. We firmly believe that the most effective form of empowerment lies in addressing the whole person and equipping them with the tools and skills to overcome their own limitations. Which is why the Empower Lab encompasses the following key elements that contribute to its transformative impact: 

  1. Creating Pathways to Success: The Empower Lab will break barriers by providing virtually free access to training, education, and discipleship for individuals in Guatemala who have faced limited opportunities. With a holistic approach encompassing skills training, character development, and leadership, we will empower participants to overcome self-doubt and societal expectations. By challenging gender norms, supporting student parents, and fostering a close-knit community, we will create an environment where individuals can thrive. By addressing financial constraints, limited access to education, and the lack of mentorship, the Empower Lab paves the way for individuals to rise into their God-given potential.

  2. The Empower Lab Journey: Individuals interested in the Empower Lab will undergo a thorough application process, which includes submitting a written application and participating in an in-person interview. Each application will be carefully reviewed and prayed over by our board panel. While anyone can apply, we will be intentional about establishing a cohort that we believe will work well together, fostering a supportive and collaborative learning environment. Upon acceptance, participants are asked for a monthly buy-in of 12q, equivalent to $1.50, to show commitment. Alternatively, participants can choose to volunteer for 1 hour each month in lieu of the fee. Classes will commence in January and will run four days a week, with seven hours of training each day.

  3. Culinary Arts and Hospitality Focus: We have intentionally chosen to focus on culinary skills and hospitality as the starting point for the Empower Lab program. This decision stems from our expertise in these areas and our desire to provide students with practical skills that align with our facility's cafe/bistro. By offering culinary training, we aim to equip our students with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel in the foodservice industry. Additionally, our vision includes opening the cafe/bistro, where students can put their learnings into practice, gaining real-world experience and further enhancing their skills in a tangible and meaningful way while connecting with the community at large. 

  4. Building Marketable Skills: During the intensive 6-month training period, the Empower Lab will cover a comprehensive range of topics to ensure a well-rounded education in culinary arts and hospitality. The curriculum will encompass various essential aspects, including an introduction to culinary arts and hospitality, emphasizing kitchen safety and sanitation, mastering culinary techniques, understanding culinary fundamentals, and exploring menu planning and recipe development. Students will also gain insights into restaurant operations and management, delve into international and regional cuisine, learn about food and beverage pricing, and develop strong customer service and communication skills. Practical experience will be a vital component of the training.  

  5. Nurturing Character Development: As a faith-based organization, our mission is rooted in a biblical perspective, which guides everything we do and teach. We strongly believe in addressing the whole person and understand the importance of tailoring our curriculum to meet the specific needs of our students. In addition to the culinary arts and hospitality training, we are committed to providing courses that encompass various aspects of life. This includes, but is not limited to, basic English language skills, creative arts, budgeting, mental health, biblical literacy and more. By addressing these areas, we aim to equip our students with a well-rounded education that not only enhances their vocational skills but also nurtures their personal growth, ensuring they are equipped for success in all areas of their lives.

  6. Cultivating a Close Community of Learning: Maintaining small class sizes is a deliberate choice for us, driven by our commitment to individual attention, care, and fostering a supportive community. We believe that by keeping the class sizes small, we can truly see, know, and love each student as an individual. It is vital for us to curate a cohort of individuals who not only possess the determination to complete the program but also uplift and encourage their classmates while embracing the challenges along the way. This intentional approach allows us to create an environment where every student feels valued, supported, and inspired to reach their fullest potential.

  7. A wrap-around approach: From the outset, our program acknowledges the barriers of unaffordable daycare and food insecurity that many Guatemalans face in pursuing education and training.  To overcome these challenges, we provide in-house daycare services, free of charge, for Empower Lab participants with young children, removing the financial burden and allowing them to focus on their education. Additionally, we will address food insecurity by offering regular and nutritious meals, ensuring that individuals have consistent access to nourishment, enabling them to fully engage in learning. 

The Empower Lab is not just a training program; it's a steppingstone towards a future filled with possibilities. Through our holistic approach, marketable skills training, character development, and close-knit community, we are breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering Guatemalans to rise up into their God-given potential. 

Want to stay up to date with all things Empower Lab and connect with TK Collectives' change-making community? Join our Insiders Email List today and be the first to receive exclusive updates on our Empower Lab program, including upcoming cohorts, stories, and new curriculum developments. By subscribing, you'll also stay connected to our wider community of changemakers, receiving valuable insights, market discount codes, and opportunities to make a difference. Don't miss out on being part of our mission. Sign up now to stay connected and make an impact with TK Collective.

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