The Maya Education Foundation gives scholarships to minority ethnic students in remote villages in Guatemala. It was my good fortune to learn about MEF through my cousin's husband's work in Guatemala. When he died, the family took on sponsoring students in his memory, through the work of the Maya Education Foundation. Especially these days, education is so essential for understanding and acceptance. I am reminded of the song:
"Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony....
Let there be peace on earth.
And let it begin with me."
The Maya Educational Foundation (MEF) provides me with the means by which I can give back to a people and a country that have been central in my life. I first went to Guatemala as a volunteer and returned as an anthropologist working in a Maya community in the central highlands. I owe much to the many Guatemalans I've met and so a key question has been: How to give back? How to help make a difference in the lives of people and the communities in which they live? For me, education is key. Maya in Guatemala (as well as Mexico and Belize) are sorely underrepresented as students in high schools and universities and in professional jobs at local, regional, and national levels. Providing bright Maya students an education is truly life-changing, and MEF students have graduated to work as doctors, agronomists, dentists, business people, nutritionists, lawyers, teachers, and more. I have served on the MEF board and have also met a number of the FEPMaya university scholarship students while volunteering for MEF's English Language Program. The MEF programs and the students they serve are wonderful. I enthusiastically support them and encourage friends to do so, too.
Thanks to the support of Maya Education Foundation, FEPMAYA has supported many students through university scholarships, these scholarships have changed the life of many women and youth men, since MEF offers them access to the superior education, in the future they will have better opportunities to become excellent professional.
In my experience, there's nothing more rewarding in life than making a positive difference in the lives of others. And that's exactly what the Maya Educational Foundation does by supporting and nurturing the professional growth of aspiring generations of students from Guatemala's diverse Maya communities. As volunteer teachers in MEF's English Language Program--a two-week intensive English course offered to Maya university students every year in the magical colonial city of Antigua--my husband and I enjoyed the privilege of working with an extraordinary group of students. All of them enthusiastic, diligent, and smart, eager to soak up whatever the program had to offer and so so appreciative of the opportunity. What a marvel they are! But to be sure, this was not a one-way street. For our part, becoming part of these students' evolving development has enriched us beyond expectation and filled us with hope of what the future can be.
Founded in 1978, the Center for Mesoamerican Regional Research (CIRMA) is a Guatemalan nonprofit foundation dedicated to the rescue and preservation of Guatemala’s visual and documentary patrimony. CIRMA comprises three main areas: a Library specializing in social sciences holding over 65,000 titles, a Photographic Archive preserving over 1.5 million images, and a Historical Archive housing more than 8.5 million documents. All its collections are accessible to the public, free of charge.
The Maya Educational Foundation’s support is crucial for CIRMA to be able to carry on its mission of making all these materials available to Guatemala and the world, and to preserve part of the history of the country for the new generations. CIRMA acclaims and is grateful to MEF for its vision of helping safeguard the past in order to build a better future.
I volunteered with MEF a while back and had a wonderful experience in Antigua and in the towns around Lake Atitlan. I was able to take intensive Spanish classes at a local language school while helping document some of MEF's many aid projects. I also visited their partner organization CIRMA in Antigua which is a leading learning center and archive of Maya history and culture. MEF is doing work that directly benefits Maya people helping them to get an education and escape poverty, a benefit they then immediately share with their communities.
I have great admiration for Maya Educational Foundation and for the young Maya that it serves. I was fortunate to spend time teaching English to a group of Mayan college students. They are some of the most dedicated and hard working young women and men I have ever met! Their desire to serve their communities as professionals in medicine, social work, agronomy, teachers, and business is very inspirational. I donate to this wonderful organization monthly.
The track record of this foundation speaks for itself. Following a clear mandate and mission to provide educational opportunities to the Mayan population, MEF has gone from helping two students in Guatemala in the early 1990s to about 450 students yearly in Belize, Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. In a span of almost three decades, the lives of these and other Mayan individuals, their families and their communities have been impacted in a positive way through the efforts of this organization. And what is most remarkable is that this has been achieved and continues to be achieved through a practice of lean management and close monitoring and accompaniment to each of its scholarship recipients.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to this public charity will find peace of mind and satisfaction knowing that such contribution will make a real difference as it is allocated to a suitable candidate eager to study.
I had the honor of serving for many years on the Board of Directors of the Maya Educational Foundation as a member and Board President. I was initially drawn to volunteering with this organization through my work as an anthropologist in Chiapas. From my earliest years learning from Maya people in the 1980s, I became aware of the injustice for young people of not being able to go on in school past 6th grade, due to lack of middle schools in their area and the funds to pay for the supplies, food, and transportation. I tried to raise scholarship funds for students in a few communities through my contacts as a professor and member of the Las Cruces, New Mexico community, but we weren’t able to help a lot of children. With MEF’s support, we were able to establish a scholarship program in Chenalhó in 2008 for young people to attend high school and university. This program along with several others in Chiapas have been giving Maya young people the opportunity to pursue their dreams of an education. Several graduates of university have gone on to pursue Masters degrees. I have been able to stay in touch with some of these students and have been inspired by their efforts to fulfill their personal academic goals, while respecting the values and principles of their traditional cultures. I believe in MEF’s mission, especially because it has a strong commitment to supporting programs that give students opportunities to learn about their cultures and histories and also because of its special attention to the issues and concerns that Maya girls face in pursuing an education. Since its inception, MEF has been making an invaluable contribution to not only Maya individuals, but also to their communities. - Christine Eber
When my husband Sheltobn Davis died 10 years ago, I wanted to carry on his work with the Mayan people. I chose the Maya Educational Foundation because it has a sterling reputation and we have followed their work for several years.
Our family are long-time supporters of the Maya Educational Foundation. We are proud to support an organization that empowers indigenous communities. This is not an administratively top-heavy nonprofit. We're happy to know our dollars are going directly to educating and lifting up Mayan people, particularly women and girls.
MEF is doing great work! I've visited Guatemala on several occasions to see their work in action first hand and it is truly changing lives. My family has been a supporter for over a decade and will continue to support their work for many years to come.
I have worked with MEF for about 15 years as a volunteer, and I also served for seven years as a member of their board. It's a lean, well-run organization that focuses most of its resources on support for Maya students who are pursuing a university education in Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. Many organizations help fund educational programs for younger children in these areas. However, there are very limited opportunities to move on to an academic or professional degree, which can be so crucial to the economic and political advancement of these highly-talented Maya students and their families. MEF partners with a small number of local, carefully-vetted nonprofits to address this need. In addition, MEF supports programs that further students' understanding of their Maya history and culture.
After more than two decades of experience supporting educational opportunities for Maya students, MEF's success can best be seen in the many amazing graduates who grew up in poverty and now are in productive careers. Among them are lawyers who provide legal services to their indigenous clients, engineers who work in renewable energy technology, advocates for justice and human rights, doctors and nurses who serve in both urban and rural settings, and agronomists who help farmers improve crop production while preserving important natural resources.
I have working with this organization in Guatemala, providing English instruction to Maya university students for the past 5-6 years. I have had nothing but good experiences with this organization. They are organized, seem to have a solid mission, and, in my experience, live up to the stated mission and values.
I've also experienced that they are not administration heavy, which means that the dollars flow where they can do the most good. I've worked with other non profits where this was not the case, so I've enjoyed working with Maya Educational Foundation.
My work in Guatemala through MEF has had a direct impact to these young people and by association, their communities and families.