So far in my job as FOCOPI (Spanish acronym for Community Prevention and Investment Fund) Program Director at Soluciones Comunitarias (SolCom) one thing I have learned is the importance of finding a local representative to promote SolCom’s products and services in the community. I have also found that the best local representatives tend to be women due to their excellent social networks and commitment to the betterment of their communities.

Taking these learnings into San Juan La Laguna, a small indigenous Tsu’tujil Maya town on the shores of Lake Atitlan, I was fortunate enough to meet an amazing local woman, Raquel. She is a single mother who is always ready to take full advantage of any opportunity that comes her way to be able to ensure her 11 year old daughter, Carol, continues to go to school. She was working (and continues to work) with Atit’Ala, a local organization that works in various development projects in the town. Apart from Atit’Ala, Raquel is also applying to become a certified tour guide with an added certification in bird watching. She hopes to be able to supplement her income by guiding various types of tours in the area.

Raquel has a big heart and really cares about the well-being of her town, which is one of the main reasons she loves working with Atit’Ala. Combine that with being very intelligent, a fast learner, having amazing work ethic and a great social network and she has been the perfect candidate to spear head the FOCOPI program in San Juan and the surrounding area. Although she is just getting started she is already making great head way and plans to be working with multiple groups by the end of the month. For this International Women’s Day I want to celebrate one of the most inspiring woman I have met, Raquel.


Photo and story by Andrew Becker, leading the Community Bank Innovation for SolCom in Guatemala since 2014.