MISSION. Task-Tarea is a U.S-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in Latin America through the power of literacy and education.
APPROACH. Task-Tarea is currently focused on the indigenous Maya girls of Guatemala. This group was chosen because it has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and because our members have strong contacts and relationships in that region.
To enact the Maya scholarship program, Task-Tarea has unpaid volunteers living year-round in Guatemala who seek out young girls that are at-risk of being left out of the schooling and education process. Among the Maya, many girls are denied entry into schools due to economic family hardship and a culture that prioritizes the education of boys.
When a girl is awarded a scholarship, Task-Tarea will sign an agreement with the parent or guardian of the child, whereby we agree to pay a small stipend to the family to offset the costs of books, transportation, clothing, and lost housework of their girl. In return, we receive a signed commitment from them to support her school attendance and her focus on studies.
IMPACT. Over half of the Maya girls in Guatemala live in poverty or extreme poverty by United Nation standards. These girls complete elementary school at a rate of 11% or 4% respectively, according to the 2000 Guatemala census.
By contrast, we have observed that families who have a daughter selected by Task-Tarea will adopt a higher priority for education and then send all of their children to the local school. This is very significant given that family sizes typically exceed 6 or 7 children.
Later in life, an educated woman will take control of family planning, direct nearly 90% of her future earnings to her family and children, and give the education of all of her children (including girls), the highest priority.
In short, by educating a single girl, there is a huge multiplier effect (often called the “girl-effect”), raising literacy and economic conditions across multiple generations. Ironically, because literacy rates are so low among Maya women, this multiplier has tremendous potential to lift up the indigenous Maya populations.
HISTORY. Task-Tarea was established in 1995. Since its founding, the organization has focused on the education of indigenous Maya girls in rural Guatemala. Over time, the scholarship program has grown from just a few sponsored students to its current size of 152 girls, and a waiting list of hundreds more.