Yoselyn Mariela is a teenager who lives in the Cruz Verde community in San Juan Sacatepéquez. She, like other girls, actively participates in the «Paso a Paso» program, implemented by the Carlos F. Novella Foundation who partners with the Republic of Austria Basic Education Institute (middle and high school level).
Due to her mother’s death, Yoselin has had a complicated childhood. Despite this situation and thanks to the program, today, Yoselyn is an active and healthy child.
«We have learned to make shampoo with aloe vera and to have a better life. After losing my mother, my grandmother helped us get ahead. She also helped us join the program which teaches us to live in harmony and happiness.
The girls develop social skills and good hygiene habits. Yoselyn understood that the most valuable thing in life is to grow up enjoying each of its stages, by designing her own life plan with a vision to the future.
Today, «Paso a Paso» is carried out in three locations: Guatemala City’s zone 6, San Juan Sacatepéquez, and Sanarate, located the department of El Progreso, Guatemala. The program’s methodology strengthens their leadership role through educational and recreational activities for girls, so that they are able to generate positive changes at a personal, family, and community level.
Olga Espinoza, program coordinator, assures that girls from 9 to 14 years old are part of this educational experience. «We want to develop life skills through training core subjects, such as self-esteem, healthy living, communication, citizen participation, and life planning. Learning about these subjects, girls generate change which improves quality of life for themselves and their families«.
Alba Morales, school counselor at the Republic of Austria Institute, mentioned that partnering strategically to carry out the Paso a Paso Program, with the Carlos F. Novella Foundation, was an opportunity to provide special focus on girls at school.
In addition, the program develops assertive communication. This strengthens personal and family relationships, helping the girls feel safe when expressing their opinions and achieve openness required to listen and respect others’ opinions.
The program develops proper hygiene and preventive health habit modules. In addition, Paso a Paso is also implemented in Santo Domingo Xenacoj, in partnership with, not only the municipality but the municipal women’s department as well, in Asunción Chivoc it partners up with Acción Católica, and in Sanarate with the Oscar Arnoldo Conde and Cerrito de Fuego schools.