Olga Lucretia Matzar, 18, holds dried corn in front of her family's home. We first met Olga in 2017 when she was a participant of Mercy Corps’ AgriJoven program, which works to prevent youth migration out of Guatemala’s Western Highlands. At that time, she had dropped out of school so she could work and help support her family, and had thought about migrating to the city for better opportunities.
A year and a half later, Olga is more optimistic than ever that she can stay in her community and build a life. Through the program she learned farming techniques to help her parents improve their crops and triple the land they farm, and saved enough through her savings and loan group to return to school. She is now studying to be a teacher, and she wants to be a role model for other young people so they see opportunity in their community and choose not to migrate.
Much of Guatemala’s migration occurs out the Western Highlands, an agricultural region characterized by underdevelopment, poverty and a lack of opportunity. AgriJoven provides youth with agricultural training and savings and loan groups, which offer them a chance to see a future in agriculture or invest in other ventures without having to leave home.