Hand writing on paper.

Pa’nibal in 2018: Investing in Education

Pa’nibal is all about practical education. This year we have been revitalizing and reimagining that focus with cost sharing programs, new in-home classes, more rigorous vocational training requirements, and a commitment to work programs with their focus outside of the home.

Money stacked up, Guatemalan QuetzalsCost sharing and domestic economics

A few months ago we introduced a new initiative that requires each of our long term residents — those with terms greater than three months — to pay a nominal monthly rent. The fee of about $15 doubles at the six-month mark, and is intended to help accustom members of our community home to managing their finances and planning for regular expenses.

As of this month 80% of Pa’nibal residents chosen to participate in the program are up to date with their contributions. For many women at Pa’nibal, this marks the first time in their life that they have been personally responsible for an ongoing domestic expense.

Women studying at a table.New in-home classes

Pa’nibal has in large part shifted away from volunteer-driven classes and instead begun focusing on paid workshops administered by experienced professionals. This shift has allowed us to maintain higher levels of quality as well as the schedule consistency that makes offering these resources to the public simpler and more successful. By bringing in members of our community on a regular basis we’re able to better communicate our mission and more publicly support our values of education, equality, non-violence, and self-determination.

More than twenty community members regularly attend workshops at Pa’nibal already, and with recent additions to our regular offerings like sport boxing and sewing we hope to see those numbers rise.

Tools in the foreground with women students in the background.Commitment to vocational training

All long-term Pa’nibal residents (except children and one adult who is enrolled as a full-time student in Guatemala City) have begun three month vocational workshops with INTECAP, a Guatemalan technical and professional training and certification organization that has been operating for nearly half a century. These courses include more than 60 hours of hands-on instructor led training and result — for students who pass the coursework — in professional certifications well respected by employers throughout Guatemala.

Our residents have enrolled in a variety of programs from clothing production through baked goods preparation and personal beauty services — skills that translate directly into employability in our local Sacatepéquez economy.

Closeup of a manicure in progressWork programs

Sixty-five percent of current adult residents at Pa’nibal are engaged in paid part-time work as a direct result of vocational workshops. The women of Pa’nibal use their earnings to cover the nominal rent we charge long-term residents, to purchase foodstuffs outside of what the home offers at daily meals, to purchase goods for their children, and to begin saving for the future.

The women at Pa’nibal who are currently working are paid some Q25 – Q50 per hour ($3.5 – $7), compared with a national minimum wage of Q16 ($2.25) per hour which less than half the country is able to actually earn. The move from domestic labor (working as a maid) to skilled labor gives Guatemalan women a significant advantage and opens a variety of new opportunities. Many domestic laborers — even in the affluent Antigua area — make only $5 – $7 for a full day’s work.

What’s next? Bank accounts. Only one in three Guatemalan women have access to a bank account. At least in this respect, the women of Pa’nibal are on their way to not being just another statistic.

Do you believe in the power of education? Do you want to help someone truly transform their life? A one-time donation of $140 covers one of many three month vocational courses we offer to residents. Any amount helps.

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