PPhoto by Tom Fry

Providing university scholarships to deserving young women in Guatemala

Guatemala COVID-19 Update


May 23, 2020


As of May 23, there have been 2743 cases of Covid-19 in Guatemala with 51 deaths.  In the past two weeks, cases have nearly doubled and have now begun to arise in the highlands around Lake Atitlan where our students live.  Cases have now occurred in Solola, Santiago, and San Andreas.   Santiago is under a strict lockdown with no one allowed in or out for 15 days.  All of our students are at home with their families continuing their studies on-line. 

Several of our students are engaged in activities to fight the corona virus pandemic.  Four of our nursing students continue to serve as translators for a hot line where people can call in to get advice from medical professionals.  They provide a critical link for residents who speak only one of the indigenous languages and doctors and nurses who speak only Spanish and/or English.  Because the demand has not been high, three of these nurses have been shifted to serving the families of Q Fund students and MAIA-Impact School, calling the families each day to provide corona virus information, (prevention, protocols, hand washing, etc).  We also have a student coordinating the process of mothers of MAIA students sorting and cutting t-shirt scraps to ready them for sewing into masks, and another in Antigua who is one of the key folks helping to manage the Humans-in-Action mask initiative.  Check it out at:  https://www.maiaimpact.org/buy-a-mask-and-donate-three

Our MAIA partner is also heavily engaged in the fight against the corona virus.  It provides a valuable source of information about the corona virus in the remote communities from which their students come.  Most notably,

Q Fund Student, Chonita, at work for Humans in Action mask initiative.

Due to the severe lockdown imposed by the government, most of the families of our students are encountering difficulties.  Many fathers are unable to work, travel is restricted, and the food supply is very limited.  Hunger is not uncommon.  The Quetzal University Fund has begun providing food supplements to many of the families of the students.  If you would like to contribute to this effort, please click here and designate your donation RELIEF FUND.

some of the staff have recorded public service announcements on prevention, symptoms, how the virus spreads, how to safely shop at the local markets, how to buy necessities, and social distancing, in three native languages.  These PSAs are receiving widespread distribution through radio and social media.  For more information on MAIA’s initiatives related to the corona virus:  https://www.maiaimpact.org/maias-response-covid19


By Anita Kreider

Sydney Summers in the home of her sponsored student, Angela Sacuj.  Sydney said her co-sponsors asked for her to name something that impacted her from the trip.  She said,  “I realized that such a small amount of money on the part of each of the three of us, can change someone’s life so significantly. And to be able to change someone’s life is a privilege and an honor.”

Fantastic is the best way to describe  our February “Insight Trip” to Guatemala!  Seven guests (Tom & Barb Scripps, Tom & Kim Fry, Sydney Summers, Carol Rush, Holly Kreider) and six “regulars”, (Nings, Stegers, Kreiders) very much enjoyed our ten-day adventure.  The guests came to get a first-hand look at the Quetzal University Program, meet our inspiring young scholars, and enjoy the beauty, culture, and diversity of Guatemala.  One guest, Sydney Summers came to meet the student she has been co-sponsoring with Sheila Norris and Laurie Mactavish.  

The opportunities to meet and interact with our scholars are the most memorable highlights! 

  • Home visit with a student and her family.  Our group divided into 2 smaller groups to visit 2 different students.  Pictures of this are at the end of this letter.

  • Visit to Rafael Landivar University, a Jesuit school in Xela where many of our full time students attend.  We met with a group of students to hear of their challenges and future ambitions and then enjoyed having lunch with them at a local restaurant.

  • Attend a Sunday group meeting of our 44 students!  Guest, Tom Fry used his photo equipment and skills to take some professional grade individual photos of every student.  We will soon be posting them on the website with a short bio!


                                     Read More


by Connie Ning

Juana Simaj

Juana lives in Santiago. Like everyone in her town, she is called an “Attiteco” meaning she lives in the biggest indigenous town on Lake Atitlan. This picturesque body of water, ringed by mountains and three volcanoes, has a handful of Mayan villages and small towns scattered on the shores of its shoulders. Santiago is one such town.  

Arriving by boat we climb onto the dock and follow a staff member through twisting paths like branches of a gnarled tree to reach Juana’s home. It is a cinderblock affair with a dirt floor and a line of machetes on one wall. Functionality is the operative word here. There is nothing charming about this level of poverty.  Juana, her parents and a younger brother with his black, scraggily puppy on a rope leash greet us. They have arranged a few plastic chairs for us while they sit on the floor.

We start the interview by asking Juana a question and she is off and running. She claims to have been timid before entering the MAIA program but this stretches the imagination as she cheerfully chatters on about the big changes in her new life as a college student and a Q Fund girl.


Malala Yousafzai

©2018-2020 by The Quetzal University Fund. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Facebook