The Mary LoGiudice Education Scholarship Fund benefits at-risk girls and teen moms in the communities surrounding Guatemalan City’s garbage dump (zone 3)
On behalf of my great-grandma Mary LoGiudice, my goal is to raise $25,000.00 for educational scholarships for at-risk teen girls and teen moms living in the Guatemala City garbage dump community. I want to reach my goal by what would be Meema’s 100th birthday (in heaven), July 9th, 2023! Investing in the education of these women will help them achieve their educational goals (high school and beyond) and create the opportunity for them to stop the cycle of poverty in their families lives.
Mary LoGiudice (Meema), who lived to be almost 97 years old, was one of the strongest and wisest women I’ll ever know. She came to the USA as an immigrant from Sicily and had to work extremely hard to help her family build a life and rise above significant adversity in this new country. Early on, education was especially challenging for Meema as she didn’t speak the language of her teachers and peers. She was resilient and worked tirelessly to overcome so many obstacles in her life and, together with Pops, created a brighter future for their family. Meema was a strong proponent of women’s education. She often advised her daughter, nieces, and friend’s daughters to stay in school and pursue a career outside of the home, even during a time when it was frowned upon for women to do so.
When I started volunteering with Hope’s In in 2016, Meema couldn’t wait to hear everything about the wonderful people that I had the opportunity to meet. She was heartbroken to learn about the struggles of young women in the Guatemalan City garbage dump community. Twenty of these women are part of the Hope’s In Fortaleza group, a community support group for teen mothers and at-risk girls in Zone 3 of Guatemala City. Meema felt strongly that these young women should be helped and that they deserve a chance to create a life outside of scavenging. Returning to education to finish their high school degrees is crucial to creating opportunities for these teen girls. Sadly, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against these women. Some statistics:
- In Guatemala, without a high school diploma, women are unable to seek employment in the formal economy. Even a housekeeping job of cleaning hotel rooms or working in fast food requires a high school diploma
- Guatemala has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Latin America, and it is on the rise. There is an increasing number of pregnancies between the ages of 10 and 14.
- Teen pregnancy rates are very high, on the rise, and a major factor in dropout rates among girls and the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty.
- Half of all Guatemalan girls have a child before the age of 19.
- At least 1/5 girls in Guatemalan have 2 children before the age of 18.
- According to USAID, the average length of education is four years and only one-third graduate from the sixth grade.
- Widespread poverty means that many children are forced to leave school due to either their parents’ inability to pay for school-related expenses (transport, uniform, supplies, etc) or the necessity for children to work
Raising $25,000.00 will be able to provide 31 at-risk teen girls & teen moms in the Fortaleza program, an opportunity to complete their high school education and/or pursue their career aspirations in university. The Fortaleza Program provides access to life changing counseling, mentorship, educational scholarship, healthcare and community. This will give women in the program the chance to break the cycle of poverty in their families and beyond and pursue a life outside of the garbage dump.
I would be honored if you considered making a donation to the Mary LoGiudice Education Scholarship Fund in our loving Meema’s memory so that her message can continue to touch the lives of women around the world.