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Our Saint Paul Area Synod has walked in a companion synod relationship with the Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG) since June 2005. We have partnered with the local leadership in building the Lutheran Center in Guatemala City and providing dry latrines and water filtration systems to the homes of 375 families, reaching 2,000 people total. Pastor Karen Castillo and the local leadership council have identified the newest priority for ILAG congregations. This will be our most ambitious effort to date. It is intended to change the lives of young girls in our sister congregations.
The Centro Educativo Milagro (Miracle Education Center) will be a residential school in Guatemala City offering academic and vocational education for young women aged 13-18. The 2-year curriculum brings girls from the rural communities where our sister congregations are located, into the capital with the goal of better preparing them for adulthood. In addition to academics, girls at the school will learn necessary life skills such as proper food preparation and storage, sewing, household management, economics, and small business administration.
Even today, in rural communities it is common and customary for girls to be married or partnered by age 13 or 14 as they have such limited choices in their rural villages. Girls begin families at a young age, often having difficult labors and births, and once they become mothers it is unlikely they will return to school. Many girls have not finished elementary school and have a difficult time even reading to their children.
This project will be broken into several phases and will probably last several years before the completed concept is realized. During 2016, a pilot program will be started using the Lutheran Center as a base of operation. This will include building a sample living residence where initial students can be housed. Plans are being developed which can be shared in a presentation to your church's global mission event or at an adult forum.
Please contact Janet Metcalfe (651-450-1717) if you would like to have the plans presented to your congregation.