Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rabinal Project


The hope comes, the seed comes

The Guatemala Group is requesting your support to the indigenous youth of Rio Negro to access to elementary and high school education.

Your donation is highly appreciate

The Waterloo Region Guatemala Group and the Waterloo Region Mayan Project have joined efforts to support the “Nueva Esperanza Foundation in the Maya Achi community of Rio Negro, Rabinal, province of Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, to provide quality education to children and youth members of Rio Negro and neighbouring communities.


Between 1976 and 1985 the Guatemalan Government built the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam in Northern Guatemala. The dam structure and its reservoir flooded the land of several indigenous communities with a population of approximately 3500. It forced to relocate those affected communities; Rio Negro was among those displaced communities
The International Monetary Fund -IMF- and the Guatemalan National Hydro Institute -INDE- relocated those affected communities, from their fertile lands to less arable ones. Besides that in the context of the Guatemalan 36 year's civil war, when the community of Rio Negro did not agree with the land provided to them, the Guatemalan army massacred the Rio Negro community on March 13th, 1982.

The survivors of that massacre with the leadership of Jesus Tecú Osorio, decided to look for justice and bring the material and intellectual responsible of the massacres before the justice system in Guatemala. For the survivors it is important that those atrocities never happen again. To achieve that goal the community agreed that education is the path to build a strong community. Their education program is founded on the principles of Justice, Peace and Democracy.

In 1997 the Nueva Esperanza Foundation started an apprenticeship program for the Maya Achi youth. In the following years the project expanded to grant scholarships for grades 7, 8 and high school students.

In 2003 they founded the New Hope Community Bilingual Institute to provide an integral education to the community members from elementary to high school. The principles and foundations of their education programs lie on the culture, the tradition, the Mayan world view, and current life style of the Maya Achi communities as well as in the principles of peace and justice, with the goal to build strong communities that create better standards of living for those impoverished Mayan-Achi communities. The school vision is to create a space that value and strengthen the Achi culture, applying a methodology that links the ethnic and community reality and vindicates the Rio Negro's history.

Currently the school serves a population of 113 students, 25 of them have scholarships. Considering the distances that some students have to travel to get to the school and the financial situation of the families a boarding school was created.

With the support of members of the community and the international solidarity the school facilities have been under construction, a lot is needed to have a complete infrastructure that allows the students to get education with the right conditions.


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