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Karyn Choy: Healthcare Mentor

As the programs of the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund aim to support and empower women, other women play a key role. Karyn Choy is one such woman, providing guidance and support for the Healthcare Scholarship students in her role as program mentor.

"In Guatemala out of the total school aged population enrolled at present, only 11.66% are Mayan women," she explains, noting the inequality that persists today.

A group of Guatemalan women standing together
Karyn stands with the current students.

Her role as mentor allows her to support Indigenous Mayan women who are pursuing their education in the field of healthcare. She meets regularly with both current and past students, discussing their studies, career paths, challenges and successes. She believes in the importance of this work both for the women themselves and for the larger society.

"By supporting women to obtain a high school or university degree, we also contribute to diversifying the country's workforce and providing opportunities to women to obtain work that is dignified and adequately compensated, which reverberates in the improvement of the economy and the living conditions of families," she says.

Three Guatemalan women holding drawings
The students stand with drawings depicting their dreams and goals.

Karyn is well qualified to advise these women. She has spent more than 10 years working as a nurse in Guatemala, providing services to Indigenous communities there at clinics and through home visits. Speaking both Kaqchikel and K'iche, she is able to serve the people in their own language.

Based on this experience, Karyn provides the other women with practical advice as well as encouragement. They are able to discuss their long-term goals, as well as their immediate experiences with school, work, family, and other parts of their lives.

"For me as a mentor it is very moving to be a part of this process," she says.

A Spanish-language chart
The model of the Healthcare Scholarship program


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