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2022 Scholarship Report from Garden's Edge

The scholarship program with youth from the Association Qachuu Aloom is a leadership incubator that inspires many young people to pursue work within their communities. Many former scholarship recipients who, from a young age, were oriented to community organizing, health, agroecology and the importance of protecting, preserving and promoting their culture, now work for Qachuu Aloom. Through the support of the Emily Sandall Foundation we continue to offer at least 10 scholarships each year. In 2021-2022 Qachuu Aloom began a process of re-aligning their work with youth with their organizational values of cultural preservation and intergenerational sharing of knowledge and experiences. Apart from their academic studies, the youth participated in workshops where they learned about their ancestral customs and traditions thus strengthening cultural identity, families, and the social fabric of the Achi pueblo. Students received workshops in effective communications, Maya gastronomy, medicinal plant recipes, agro-ecology, seed production, and training from local midwives. Using the farmer to farmer (campesino a campesino) methodology of horizontal learning where elders pass down knowledge to the youth, Qachuu Aloom is inspiring communities to continue age-old cultural traditions based on ancestral knowledge.

In 2022 we supported 11 young people (8 women and 3 men) studying at different educational levels from high school to technical college. In keeping with Qachuu Aloom’s commitment to gender equity, priority is given to young women. The association recognizes that machismo is still a serious barrier to educational opportunities for women, especially in rural communities. Scholarship recipients had the opportunity to strengthen their skills in the areas of: agroecology, effective communication and community health. Each scholarship student chose their area of greatest interest.

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