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Transforming Lives

K’iche’ maya man from Sololá proudly shows a sample of his snow pea harvest.

The story of agricultural diversification—the change from growing only basic grains for family consumption to growing a diverse group of crops sold in national and international markets—is the story of thousands of farmers in the Guatemalan Highlands that has increased incomes, jobs, and opportunity, transforming hundreds of thousands of lives.

Yuri Tecún receives a diploma from Zamorano authorities after ranking seventh in class.

Yuri Tecún is an exception to the rule. Thanks to a USAIDbacked scholarship program, she was able to attend university, unlike many other young girls in Guatemala.

Gladys Soto during a growth monitoring activity in early 2011.

"We are bridges; we build bridges for a better future," says Gladys Marisol Soto. She is 29, a mother of two: 3-year-old Selvin David and 11-month-old Joshua. As a housewife from a rural community in Pedro Jocopilas, on the south coast of Guatemala, Gladys received a visit at her home from a USAID-sponsored community facilitator.

New bakeries bring work opportunities to rural Mayan women and improved nutrition for their families.

The remote rural highlands of Guatemala were the most affected by the 36-year civil war. Mayan families, particularly women and children, suffer the economic and social consequences of severe lack of education, health, and income generation opportunities.

A young man from a Ladino area of Guatemala City bids his Mayan Kícheé friend farewell.

USAID's Youth Leadership and Employability Skills Program helped disenfranchised young Guatemalans abandon conflict and discrimination in favor of more productive ways of living and working.

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Last updated: November 20, 2014

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