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Achievements

The Student Sponsorship Program

Since its inception, the partnership between Mission Teaching Foundation (MTF) and Yashalúm has graduated 300 students from junior high, 200 from high school and 150 from college. Over 300 other young men and women have participated in one or more years of secondary education before having to leave school for health reasons or family economic difficulties.

In 1990, a 16-acre ranch was purchased for the purpose of housing up to 60 indigenous boys whose families are poor and live in distant mountain villages where only rudimentary primary education is available. In 1992, Casa Santa Maria was purchased as a residence for indigenous girls. It is currently the hope of 40 young Mayan women who are traditionally married at the age of 15 and have never been offered an education.

When these two residences reached capacity in 1993, Yashalúm and MTF began to offer scholarships to low income students who lived in the towns of Yajalón and Petalcingo. Since then, this portion of the education program has expanded to serve Mayan youth from five counties in the northern part of the state of Chiapas and currently offers scholarships to 101 junior high and high school students.

In 2004, Yashalúm formalized its relationship with the Chiapas State University (UNACH) to offer special academic services to the students such as aptitude screening for college. MTF was responsible for encouraging the relationship and has helped fund the UNACH activities for Yashalúm.

In 2005, Yashalúm established five houses as student residences in the cities where there is the greatest concentration of MTF sponsored university students: Ocosingo, San Cristobal de la Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas; Tizimin in the Yucatan, and Villahermosa in Tabasco. MTF provides the monthly rent for these homes.

The latest development in the program is the formation of a new foundation, FUNDESI (Foundation for Sustainable Development for Indigenous), by five of our recent college graduates for the purpose of accompanying the college students, fostering appropriate technology in the Mayan communities, cementing relationship with academic institutions of higher learning and promoting scholarships on the postgraduate level. MTF is committed to helping provide funds for the first two years of this new endeavor until FUNDESI can establish its own fundraising.

Success Stories

The education program’s success can best be measured by the fruit it has produced. Its first 7 college graduates not only came back to the community to give their year of service, but also have remained in the area to be of continued service to the Mayan indigenous:

Dr. Roberto Pérez Díaz is the director of the local government hospital.

Jaime Aguilar Hernández teaches agronomy at the local public high school.

Mario Cruz López is a lawyer in Yajalón and Tuxtla.

Abraham Vázquez López was town mayor of Tumbalá and now works for the government.

Lucio Nahal Jiménez works for the Yashalúm education in appropriate technology.

Cristóbal Arcos Gutiérrez was ordained a priest.

Carlos Hernández Gómez was administrator of Yashalúm until January 2007 when he began to pursue his masters’ degree in business administration.

Other Programs and Partners of Yashalum and MTF

Yaxwinic(Tzeltal Maya for “People of the Land”) is a coffee cooperative formed by Yashalúm graduates to export organic, shade grown and “fair trade” coffee.

The Canadian Embassy in Mexico City funded the building of over 200 improved firewood stoves (Lorena stoves) in the Mayan communities in 2004. An additional amount of USD$15,000 has been granted for 2007 for the promotion of organic vegetable gardening, composting latrines, and the construction of more Lorena stoves.

Habitat for Humanity International brought into the area by several of the college graduates, has built several homes together with the Mayan people.

Non-profits from Belgiumfunded a project to bring potable water from the mountains for the women’s student residence, Casa Santa Maria, and to 6 Mayan villages.

Waterlines, USAfunded the water project for the Boys’ student residence, Rancho Santiago, and 5 villages.

The Mercy Sisters, USASr. Maria Campos has recently joined the board of Mission Teaching Foundation and is soliciting a grant for a weaving cooperative centered at the women’s student residence, Casa Santa Maria.

Global Pediatric Allianceprovides educational, technical, and financial support for community-based health projects in Latin America. Since 2004, GPA has collaborated with Yashalum, in Yajalon, Chiapas, Mexico, to offer training in Western medical techniques for Tzeltal-speaking midwives. The collaboration has increased awareness of the role midwives play in public health. Read more about their fine work at www.globalpediatricalliance.org

MTF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a tax exempt status from the IRS

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