Training at the Guatemalan Centre Begins
We are very pleased to announce that our first solar training on Latin American soil is underway. 11 Indigenous Ixil Maya women from local communities have come together to enrol in our Solar Engineer (Solar Mama) training and Enriche livelihood curriculum. The training is taking place at our fully-operational Guatemalan training centre located in Batzul, which opened in May 2022.
The women have broken the record for the largest range of ages, from 20 to 69 years old. From new young mothers to wisdom-rich grandmothers, the cohort of women is unique and diverse and offers learning opportunities for both trainees and staff. The centre has already hosted an Enriche course with 16 local Indigenous women.
The solar engineer program is a 2-month curriculum that will teach the women to assemble, install and maintain solar home lighting systems and lanterns. Once they’ve completed their training, they’ll be responsible for providing this light to their remote rural communities.
Solar is a Solution Toward Climate Justice
This is an opportunity for Guatemalan villagers to use reliable, renewable energy instead of fossil fuel-based energy. Children can study during the evening, and adults can cook and begin secondary livelihoods at night.
This reduces the risk of inhalation of toxic black smoke and also the risk of something catching fire indoors. While many communities face grid-power outages, solar is a more consistent alternative that can last for years when cared for properly. Solar home lighting systems enable villages to bypass grid electricity and fossil-based fuels.
Two Ixil Guatemalan solar master trainers, Juana and Feliciana have spearheaded the training module with diligence and expertise, gained from their time training in India in 2020. Accompanying them are two solar master trainers who’re visiting internationally to ensure the program runs smoothly.
One week into their training modules, the ladies are already beginning to successfully light their solar equipment and identify key components which assemble into Barefoot solar home lighting systems.
For about a decade, Barefoot College International has worked in Guatemala with rural indigenous communities to provide women with lucrative entrepreneurial opportunities. Our vision to decentralize and train women locally were several years in the making, and the fruition of this dream to establish our Guatemalan centre has been a truly satisfying accomplishment.
We would sincerely like to thank our dedicated team, our partners on the ground, and our key partners including Elvis & Kresse, Palo Alto Networks, eMITE, the World Food Program and Chajulense Association.
You can support our Guatemalan operations and be part of the mission to create lasting change in Indigenous communities. Visit our Donate page to make a contribution and discover other ways that you can join our mission.