Indigenous communities throughout Latin America have historically lacked access to government and infrastructure services. This has been particularly true in Guatemala, where indigenous Mayans continue to suffer from years of exploitation. Poor nutrition is common, access to adequate health care is limited, and most families cannot support a child’s education costs. Indigenous Q'eqchi consistently have one the highest rates of infant mortality in the region, and illiteracy runs at about 53%.
The situation for women is worse. Women are rarely registered at birth and will never posses an identification card. Few women speak Spanish, and most work at home until they marry. While their male siblings might have the opportunity to study or earn income outside the home, girls help their mothers with the collection of water, cleaning, and other household chores and then go on to the same work for their own families.
The lack of opportunities, increased violence, and food scarcity draw Mayan youth, both boys and girls, away to the city where they face even greater challenges. Hence it is important to break the cycle of poverty so families can enjoy the peace and prosperity they once knew. Innovative technology has the potential to improve livelihoods and opportunity in the community while preserving a unique culture.