Sharing the Dream helps Guatemalans to find their voice, become more confident, and take control of their lives and futures.
Empowerment is a buzz word in the non-profit community today, but what does it really mean? Oxford Dictionary defines empowerment as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights.”
Sharing the Dream is different in that we don’t just give handouts, we expect something in return. The scholarship students must show up for their tutoring sessions, complete volunteer hours, and participate in educational activities. Our partner artisan groups are expected to participate in workshops and meetings with our Artisan Development staff to learn new techniques and skills. The elders have formed several committees involved in the running of the Elder Center. They also give back to the Center by volunteering their time helping to prepare meals or taking food home for a neighbor. We feel that giving back is an important part of each program, because it gets people involved, allows them to feel ownership, and gives them a voice. This voice allows the participant to become stronger and more confident and carries over to other aspects of their lives, thus empowering the individual.
Several months ago, we formed an advisory committee at the Elder Center. When we first started meeting, we would ask the committee for feedback, and they would tell us that everything was wonderful. Although it’s nice to hear that you are doing good work, the point was to know how we can improve. Little by little, the elders have found their voices and now offer thoughtful feedback during the meetings. Many of them had never been asked for their opinion before, and now they participate on a regular basis.
Sharing the Dream is more than just donations and crafts. We are on the ground in Guatemala, working in partnership with the local people, learning from each other and helping our partners to become stronger, more confident, and take control of their own lives and futures. Thank you for being a part of that.
Please consider making a donation to support Sharing the Dream so that we can continue to work in partnership with the Guatemalan people and help them to become stronger, more confident, and take control of their own lives and futures. 100% of your donation will go to programming.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.