SERES Guatemala program coordinator and facilitator Abigail Quic takes her leadership to Australia!
Abigail Quic is taking her leadership across the globe – literally. This week she arrived in Australia, ready to share her knowledge of and experience with sustainability education in Central America, while also learning and working alongside other youth sustainability leaders at the Australian organization, OzGreen.
Abigail’s Journey – Antigua, Guatemala > Sydney, Australia
This next chapter in Abigail’s journeys as a sustainability leader is natural given what she’s accomplished, but her story is anything but common among young indigenous women in Guatemala.
Abigail is a young T’zutujil woman from Sololá in Guatemala. Sololá is one of the poorest departments in the country where 7 in 10 children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. At the time she was born, the civil war saw at least one killing a month around the lake where she lived and at 4 years of age, government troops opened fire on 4,000 T’zutujil citizens gathered in peaceful protest in an effort to end the war. In Guatemala, the top three crimes against women are femicide, homicide and murder. Only 30% of indigenous girls enroll in middle school and 58% of girls in Guatemala become pregnant before the age of 18. The odds of living a healthy and successful life are against young women like Abigail. Yet despite these odds, Abigail has achieved incredible things and is using her success to help other young women like her.
Great Growth in Few Years
Abigail participated in her first youth sustainability leadership congress in Quetzaltenango, in the western highlands of Guatemala, in 2011. After the congress she was selected by SERES as a fellow for the Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship in 2012, a program run in collaboration between OzGREEN and SERES, with the financial support of AusAID and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Returning to Guatemala from Australia, Abigail became a full-time staff member of SERES and is currently a facilitator as well as the coordinator of all SERES Guatemala programs. In this role Abigail has then moved from strength-to-strength, stepping into positions of leadership within the organisation as well as regionally in Guatemala. She is increasingly called on as a leader in the field of youth leadership development and water issues.
In 2015, Abigail traveled on SERES’ behalf to UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, where the organization was awarded with the prestigious UNESCO-Japan Prize for Education for Sustainable Development. Abigail stood in front of UNESCO’s general assembly and invited world leaders to invest in youth education and leadership for a better future.
In 2015 Abigail received a scholarship to attend the first Latin American Social-Environmental Leadership Academy organised by Global Environments Network. She is also a fellow of the Association for Leadership in Guatemala (Class of 2015) and a member of the Central American Youth Water Network.
You can get to know Abigail and her mission even better by reading this SERES blog post and watching this video about her personal growth and road to sustainability.
About the Internship
Knowing Abigail’s potential to create great change in her country, SERES is collaborating with Australian organization OzGREEN to support a 3-month internship project.
The project will support Abigail’s ongoing professional and personal development in a leadership training and capacity building internship. During her time in Australia, Abigail will be building experience running youth education programs for sustainability. She will also be able to improve her management and organizational skills, her leadership skills as well as her English level.
The internship is also a great opportunity to strengthen the connections between OzGREEN and SERES and with the Latin American community in Australia. For SERES as a sending organization it will help us to continue to develop strong local leaders in Guatemala, as well as raising the profile worldwide of what climate change and the sustainability crisis is doing to Central America.
Abigail will be blogging about her journey on her own personal website and we will be reposting those updates here on the SERES blog. Learn about Abigail’s journey and embark on the road to sustainability beside her!