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Transforming Lives

Don Feliciano Castellanos, director of La Estansa, (right) and Flaviano Cajti Alvarado (center) are Kaqchikel-speaking Mayans

“Don” Felician Castellanos, a subsistence farmer in Guatemala, believes it is a miracle that he survived the massacres and disappearances caused by the violent civil war that hit his region. Although he never went to school, don Feliciano knew he wanted to read and write.

Community members use computers at the rural school in Cunén, Quiché , Guatemala.

Some assume that rural indigenous populations are not ready for information technology, that they are not interested in it, and that, in any case, there is not enough basic infrastructure to extend technology from urban to rural areas.

Chortí women now produce tens of thousands of artisan products every year, helping them support their families.

In 2001, drought and the fall of world coffee prices exacerbated the already extreme poverty that afflicted rural Guatemalan families. A hunger crisis struck, forcing the Chortí Mayan women in Jocotán at times to have to decide between food and medicine.

Girls with new school books
Try to imagine a world without books. Imagine if the only pictures you see are on road signs and buses. Imagine if your teachers never read you books, but told you things to memorize exactly the way it was presented. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

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Last updated: July 03, 2014

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