The Guacamaya Foundation has been active in Guatemala since 1996 to improve the development opportunities of Maya children. The foundation has developed various educative programs that make education more challenging and meaningful and the children are assisted to put in practice what they have learned. Widespread deforestation in the project area increases the poverty of the local people even further. The foundation supports an educative centre in the Mayan village El Corozal where most of the activities are organized. Part of the terrain consists of a piece of forest, the last piece of forest left in the vicinity of the village.

Most of the educative programs are aimed to assist children in planting their own forest such as the program: Juanito and Maria plant their own forest. The program consists of a booklet with 8 stories about the Maya children Juanito and Maria who plant their own forest and the positive impact this forest has on the development of their future lives. After the program children receive trees and a bamboo plant to plant their own forest, just as Juanito and Maria. In the programs children also learn about the cultivation and use of bamboo. Some children who have planted bamboo a couple of years ago are already harvesting bamboo to make furniture. The program has been extended in time to various schools and also to other areas such as the cloud forest nature reserve Chelemha and National Park Yaxha.

 

There is also a program that children help to develop their own vegetable garden. The different activities complement each other well. As shown by Mirna and her brother Walter. The Guacamaya Foundation publishes a children’s newspaper, which forms an additional component to integrate the different project activities and also improves the reading skills of the local children who appreciate the newspaper a lot.

The Guacamaya Foundation also helps (Maya) women. They are assisted with the development of a vegetable garden and to increase the productivity of their poultry. Women are assisted with the development of sturdy chicken coops and to keep ducks. These activities diminish malnutrition and the women might also earn a small income.

The Guacamaya Foundation works together with a number of local partners. In 2014 a special kind of cooperation evolved with a college. During an official school project a group of students assisted 8 families to develop successfully a vegetable garden. In 2015  more students participated in this project, for example Martha.

There is a lot of interest for the various programs and in cooperation with the association Tz’unun, our local working partner, and other partners such as the provincial department of the Ministry of Agriculture more and more schools become involved in the different programs. The Guacamaya Foundation also organizes festivals to make the activities more known and to give talented students the opportunity to shine on stage. Fagioli College organized a beautiful festival about nature in 2015.