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BWB NEWS 05/21/2019

Mujeres Sembrando La Vida: BWB 2018 Community Grant Update!

One of our 2018 Community Micro Grant Recipients is Mujeres Sembrando La Vida in Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico. This was a project to build out a second floor of the Yo’onik Community Learning Center. The goal of the Yo’onik Community Learning Center is education and economic empowerment.

Project leader Maria Yolanda Hernandez Gomez describes the project:

In 2014, we built the first floor of our Community Learning Center Since then, all the spaces, which are used for activities related to education and economic empowerment for the community, are overflowing, and we are fundraising to build the second floor. With a second floor, the center can expand the spaces for classes and workshops, store merchandise, house the finishing machines that commercial orders require, and set up an office.

Our educational goal is to help children and youth stay in school as long as possible through scholarships for teens and tutoring for younger students. The economic empowerment goals are to help artisans in the cooperative have fair income for their traditional textile products, and to increase the commercial orders.

8 people participated in the development of this project, which serves 128 students at the center.

Zinacantán adults have a 54% rate of illiteracy. The children who participate in the Yo’onik elementary school tutoring program will finish sixth grade. The teens that receive scholarships through the Yo’onik educational program will complete high school. The children, youth and women that participate in the center consider themselves to be agents of change in their own communities. 25% of those who complete high school will complete the university level of education.

Does your project demonstrate any of the 10 principles:

Gifting: In the Yo’onik Community Learning Center, all children are welcome to be tutored in reading, writing and math in our native language of Maya Tzotzil.  Some children are there every Thursday and Saturday, and others only participate occasionally. The tutors are secondary and high school students that receive their study stipend from Yo’onik, and they treat all the children equally.  The gift of education is taken seriously by everyone who participates in our programs, and that includes the concept that knowledge and skills are to be shared freely!

De-commodification: Financial support for our programs and infrastructure is primarily from individual donors and small foundations. We do not seek support from corporations or endorse products.

The Mayan culture honors the ability of each artisan to produce quality textiles that are both unique and traditional, making each one a work of art.

Communal Effort: Communal effort is one of the Mayan cultural characteristics that we appreciate and practice in as many ways as possible. In both MSV and Yo’onik, everything is a communal effort, from the collective naming of Yo’onik and MSV to all-members participating in the creation of the five-year strategic plan.

Civic Responsibility: An extension of our belief in the importance of collective participation includes accepting the local, state, and federal civic structures within which we operate. Even when we disagree with the dominant culture, the fundamental premise of all our programs is that both MSV and Yo’onik exist to complement and integrate into educational and economic structures that already exist; not to counter or contradict them.

Participation: We perceive participation as a fundamental community value, and similar to communal effort.  We are in this together, and that means we all are responsible for our roles within the collective effort.

To learn more about the Yo’onik Community Learning Center, find them  &

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