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Scholar Spotlight: Our 1st Year Changemakers

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Left to Right: Axcel, Andrea, Manuel, Regina, Otoniel

Philanthropiece Program Intern, Caitlin Mendenhall, has been interviewing the Philanthropiece Scholars in Guatemala about their experiences. This interview shows how the five new Scholars, Manuel, Regina, Otoniel, Andrea, and Axcel, are developing their new roles as change makers in their community.

How are your experiences going so far?

  • Otoniel: It is a privilege to be here at Philanthropiece. It is a very well equipped organization. I’m learning a lot working with the Business Team but I look forward to learning more about the other teams as well. In future years we could even have our own projects. This organization has been the best for me.
  • Regina: My experience has been very good. When I started at Philanthropiece, I was only familiar with the idea of social entrepreneurship in theory. But now I get to see it in practice and apply it to my project. I am very satisfied with myself and my fellow Scholars for working as a team with the Philanthropiece family.

Do you already identify as changemakers in your community or are you still developing that idea?

  • Manuel: I think we’re still in the process of forming that, but we are starting to see our changes in our community.
  • Andrea: I do feel like a change maker because the Agriculture Team I am a part of is making an organic fertilizer. To me, this is very different and many people here aren’t doing that.
  • Axcel: I consider myself to be a change maker because as part of the Business Team, I have helped to bring products to many far away communities. I think we are doing a good job and we want to reach more communities.

Can you think of people in your life that are examples of changemakers?

  • Otoniel: I think we, the Scholars, are change makers. I know a lot of people that want to be in Philanthropiece, but if they can’t be in it we can still share what we’ve learned with them. They can be change makers through us. There are many potential change makers in Chajul. All they need is the support and the opportunity to do something.
  • Manuel: Most people in Chajul are change makers. All that is different from us and them is that we have been given an opportunity that they haven’t. We are very grateful to Philanthropiece for the chance to be here. We are learning what we can do to give others this opportunity and change Chajul.
  • Axcel: I think my parents are change makers. They have given me values and taught me many things. The fact that I am here at Philanthropiece makes them changemakers on its own. They have worked really hard for me and I am now accomplishing many things so I think that makes them change makers.

What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?

  • Manuel: Social entrepreneurship is the idea of one to support the many, such as filling a need or creating the solution to a problem that we are seeing in the communities around us.
  • Andrea: Social entrepreneurship is a strategy for innovating and organizing something new that is sustainable within itself.
  • Regina: Social entrepreneurship gives us the ideas for new projects and new ideas to further our own development. In the Business Team, we are already applying it to our project to gain new experiences and learn more about what it is.
  • Axcel: It consists of activities that contribute to development and create solutions for problems in a society. It has a social impact without destroying the environment.
  • Otoniel: It means making a change first in ourselves, then our families, then our communities. In that way, piece by piece, we can make a better world.

What is something about the program that has surprised you?

  • Otoniel: Philanthropiece has been amazing, truly. The directors and the support that they give us is already at an advanced level. I’m surprised by the teamwork unity, the mutual respect, and it’s values. It’s incredible.
  • Regina: I’m amazed at the growth of the program. When I was in high school I knew about Philanthropiece but it didn’t have any running projects yet. Now it has four! Philanthropiece is supporting a development in each of the Scholars and we are getting better at communicating and working in a team.
  • Andrea: The projects have surprised me because they are only created by the people within the Philanthropiece office but they have the vision to help everyone else. Their sustainability has surprised me too since that’s something we don’t often take into account.
  • Axcel: The project has surprised me because we are already contributing to society. I’ve never been able to have this kind of impact, to help so many people. Through Philanthropiece and the project I am a part of, I am carrying my little grain of sand. The social impact surprises me, but I like it. It isn’t something we are obligated to do, rather something we truly enjoy doing

Interested in learning more about the Scholars and their social entrepreneurship projects?  Check out this series of blogs about each venture team!

_dPGivweXk_XqwRpOFfu8OVlmeu02mnffuCtAnVxV8c,EhqQ_1SsZ15tDcYg1KiqiST8hq7aBB7nafvkwKfKVBwEven after completing two internship periods at Philanthropiece, Caitlin Mendenhall is still here, and she’s quite excited about being able to continue this happy relationship for another ten weeks in her second renewal as Program Intern. She loves getting to know each of the scholars individually through Skype interviews and conversations. She hopes to one day meet them in person!

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