Limitless Horizons Ixil
Limitless Horizons Ixil's mission is to create opportunities for the indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatemala, to develop the academic and professional skills needed to effect change in their lives and community.
Limitless Horizons Ixil is a Guatemala-based organization that combines local and international resources and expertise to realize its goals. It has 501(c)(3) status in the US and non-governmental organization status in Guatemala.
LHI achieves its goals through the integration of three core programs:
- The Youth Development Program supports middle and high school education for youth who would not otherwise have the means to continue their education past primary school. The program provides youth with scholarships and a comprehensive range of support services, including tutoring, computer and Spanish language classes, a work-study program, career counseling, mentorship, and life-skills workshops.
- LHI founded and operates Chajul’s first and only community library. The library serves 50 to 100 visitors daily and provides access to over 8,500 books.
- The Artisan program provides women with the opportunity to earn a fair wage using their traditional weaving skills.
Limitless Horizons Ixil was founded by Katie Morrow and Chajul native Pedro Caba in 2004, and supported 10 students with scholarships in its first year. Over the years Limitless Horizons Ixil has expanded to provide a range and depth of opportunities. By 2017, the community library has served over 1,600 members, and Limitless Horizons Ixil supports 65 students annually through our Youth Development Program, making an important impact for a community where only 11.5% of the population graduates from middle school.
Background on Chajul
Women and children are at a particular disadvantage in Chajul. Only five percent of children graduate from middle school and less than one percent graduate from high school. This is due to both financial limitations and the expectation that children should leave school at an early age to contribute to the family income with jobs such as working in the fields, hand-washing clothes, producing artisan products, carrying wood, or shining shoes. Consequently, 75% of the adult population in Chajul is illiterate and monolingual Ixil. Of this group, girls are at an even greater disadvantage and are consistently given fewer opportunities than boys, as their education is seen as less important. Guatemala has an alarming 35-45% unemployment rate, and Chajul in particular has very few options for people who seek an honest way to make a sufficient living. Seventy-one percent of the population (94% of women and 47% of men) only can find temporary work for short periods at a time. Eighty percent of Chajul's population lives in general poverty, and of that, 25% live in extreme poverty. Of this 25%, a large portion are single women with families. Men earn an average of 4,235 Quetzales (approximately $513) per year, while women only earn an average of 412 Quetzales (approximately $50). In addition, many women and children in Chajul suffer from domestic violence.