Voces y Manos has three core programs, all building toward our mission of empowering indigenous youth to better their communities:
While receiving high school scholarship, students work in teams to carry out community projects. Along the way they build self-esteem, deepen their knowledge of their cultural heritage, and build leadership skills.
Voces y Manos leads a yearly youth-empowerment seminar that fosters critical thinking, global awareness, positive identity formation, cultural pride, and cross-cultural dialogue among future leaders in the community of Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. Following their participation in this seminar, youth receive high scholarships from Voces y Manos. During their time in the scholarship program, students receive academic tutoring and ongoing leadership development. The program leaves students well-prepared to attend college, obtain professional degrees, and become leadership who promote a sustainable, self-determined future for their communities. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Students who received high school scholarships have the opportunity to go onto university
Our students face numerous challenges upon graduating from high school, such as limited work opportunities and discrimination. Our college scholarship/internship program helps students overcome these challenges by providing them with internship placements in local community development organizations. These internships provide students with valuable work experiences, and a living stipend that allows them to fund their college education. Our students pursue majors in fields like education, agronomy, and nursing that equip them to provide critical services and work for social change. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Scholarship students develop their own projects to solve a variety of sustainable development challenges
Because Voces y Manos believes that youth have the full potential to make their communities healthier places, our youth empowerment program culminates with students developing projects to promote health and sustainability in their communities. Students work in small groups to conduct research on a challenge facing their community. They then work with members of their community to design a project to address it. With the support of Voces y Manos staff members, students successfully implement a wide array of projects. Students have mobilized their communities to reforest barren hillsides, planted community gardens, and have even lobbied local politicians to provide more frequent garbage collection services. These projects demonstrate young people’s ability to improve community conditions—to the broader world and to the young people themselves. CLICK HERE to learn more.
To achieve its mission of empowering indigenous youth to advance the health and wellbeing of their communities, Voces y Manos not only provides scholarships, it also supports its students through its Association of Voces y Manos Scholarship Recipients, which the group simply calls “the Association”. Participants’ involvement in the Association lasts three years, the time it takes to graduate diversificado, or upper-secondary school. The Associations meets every two weeks. These meetings are largely participant-led, and focus on community-building, leadership development, and more recently, community-level advocacy.
CLICK HERE for more information on the UC Berkeley’s YPAR Hub website.
CLICK HERE to read the UNICEF briefing on Adolescent Participation in Research featuring Voces y Manos on page 8.