- Adriana VarillasAdriana Varillas was 28 when selected as a GOJoven Fellow and was a writer for the La Voz del Caribe newspaper, based in Cancun, with a circulation extending throughout the northern part of Quintana Roo. She specializes in writing about the environment, but also covers gender, human rights, politics...
Carlos Rene Cotúc Calvac was 26 years-old when he was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. He is a Maya- K’iché who has volunteered as a radio host for numerous community radio stations in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, including one of 25 radio stations associated with the non-profit association Mujb´ab´l yol. This organization furthers education and capacity-building for children and adolescents, and advances local communication and democratization. Carlos has broadcast programs on health, children’s rights and worker’s rights, and has provided training on sexually transmitted infections and media in schools and local organizations.
Wilson Rigoberto Norales, selected at age 23 is an experienced Garifuna sexual and reproductive health educator and human rights advocate from Livingston. He has facilitated trainings in human rights, discrimination, racism, HIV and democracy for both local organizations and the Guatemalan government. Wilson has a high school diploma in computers and was a seminary student in Nicaragua in 2006. He plans study psychology at a local university.
Abigail Ortiz Dubon was selected at age 18 when she was still in high school. The Ladina woman is a member of a local Mayan cultural association, where she has participated in workshops on leadership, conflict resolution, self-esteem, the environment and HIV/AIDS. She is very interested in environmental protection and the importance of sexual and reproductive health in maintaining the balance between human population and nature. Abigail hopes to strengthen her knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, particularly HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning and adolescent pregnancy prevention, in order to influence youth in her community to practice healthy sexual behaviors.
Elder Eduardo Ventura was selected as a GOJoven Fellow when he was at age 19 years-old. He has worked professionally as a high school teacher at his family’s private school in Rio Dulce and has taught classes on SRH in the hope of reducing the high rates of adolescent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, school desertion and single motherhood in the region. He worked as an intern at a local radio station in Rio Dulce, where he created a sex education radio program geared toward youth.
Edgar Anival de Leon was selected as a GOJoven Fellow when he was 19-years old. This Q’eqch’i’ Mayan leader has worked for Grupo de Jovenes Jesus to prevent teen pregnancy by encouraging abstinence and healthy sexual behavior. He has participated in the leadership training activities of a Mayan cultural association and has volunteered with the HIV prevention and anti-discrimination projects of the local Red Cross. He is a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, and is eager to study sexual and reproductive health and share this information with other youth in his rural community.
Flor de Maria Cordón runs information, education and communication programs for youth at the government health center in Los Amates. Selected at age 26, Flor is a young Ladina woman, with significant experience working with children and youth, first as a primary school teacher and principal, then as an educator for the Department of Social Projects of the Office of the First Lady. She has trained health promoters and midwives in rural communities and will soon graduate with a BA in Social Work.
Dennis Castillo was selected to become a GOJoven Fellow when he was 20-years old. His professional experience includes being a member of the Board of Directors of the Livingston Garifuna Youth Group, which works to improve the lives of young people in the area. Since the age of 15, Dennis has participated in numerous groups working in the areas of HIV, human rights and political participation. He led, for example, a group that provided recreational activities for young people with the goal of reducing drug abuse and commercial sex work. Dennis plans to study law, after which he plans to become mayor of Livingston.
Sandra Marivel Pérez Pop became a GOJoven Fellow at age 18 and is a Mayan woman from Livingston, Izabal. She studied sustainable tourism at the Ak Tenamit Association. Sandra worked as a volunteer for an AIDS prevention project where she traveled with a group of clowns to rural communities and to Livingston to teach the population about the importance of HIV prevention. Sandra was invited and awarded a grant to represent Guatemala in an International Conference on Women and HIV in Kenya, Africa to share her experiences from Izabal. Sandra wants to continue to uncover in the field of counseling and community work on HIV and hopes to study psychology in the future.
Rubén Leonardo Pineda Méndez became a GOJoven Fellow at age 25. His professional experience includes working as an accountant and office manager for the Puerto Barrios office of Association Gente Nueva, a national non-profit organization focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Rubén participated in a Red Cross project focused on family planning and HIV prevention, replicating what he learned in schools throughout Izabal. Rubén was treasurer of the Izabal Network to Prevent STIs and HIV, which works closely with the Izabal Health Department. A strong advocate for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, Ruben hopes to continue in this field and to develop an ornamental fish business to help provide for their economic self-sufficiency.
Marta Honoria Castillo was 26-years-old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Her professional experience includes working as a trainer in the Association of Garifuna Women of Guatemala. In this capacity, she advocated for the rights and health of Garifuna people throughout the Izabal District. Marta served for two years as President of the Youth and Children Parliament of Guatemala. She has training and experience in conflict resolution, teamwork, community development and HIV/AIDS. She completed two years of university studies in Business Administration and recently obtained a professional certificate in Political Leadership and Human Rights in Honduras. She hopes to become an international advocate for laws and polices that support women, strengthen organizations and empower youth.