Kaqchikel Presbytery (Connect via Facebook, Website)
Our oldest partnership is with Mayan women’s groups in the villages of Bola de Oro, Cerro Alto and Labor de Falla, near the city of Chimaltenango and with the Kaqchikel Presbytery (KP). This partnership is rooted in the history of the internal armed conflict in Guatemala, with the Chimaltenango region being hard hit by the violence. During that time, Presbytery leaders courageously served the community leading to the establishment of the community development program. Today, the KP creates informal worshipping spaces and healing communities in addition to community-based self-help and economic development (micro-credit) groups. Members, who come from a variety of backgrounds and religious affiliations, work together to strengthen their communities and families.
Highlands’ Committee of Peasant Farmers (Comite Campesino del Altiplano) CCDA (Connect via Website)
BTS has worked with the CCDA since 2000 in developing a fair-trade coffee exportation relationship, through Just Us! Today, the CCDA markets its coffee, Café Justicia throughout Canada, parts of the USA and Europe. In Guatemala, this translates into hundreds of families benefiting from higher prices that fair trade guarantees, organic compost for future crops and the development of a CCDA scholarship program from the proceeds of the coffee for children of small coffee producers. The CCDA works to promote land and labour rights for campesino (peasant farmer) families. Learn more about “Fair Trade Plus” and the CCDA’s model of using organic coffee to promote justice.
Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute (IMAP)
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IMAP works to promote and foster biological and cultural diversity in Mesoamerica through permaculture design and practice. They work directly with communities and organizations in the region to integrate permaculture into community development for the benefit of families. IMAP’s vision is for Meso-American People to become the primary actors of the construction of autonomous sustainable development and to live in harmony with nature and to be a Permaculture model for the bioregion and world. Seed saving and seed sharing, health, nutrition and self reliance are important parts of their work. IMAP offers Permaculture Design Certificate programs, as well as other learning opportunities.
Asociacion Bufete Juridico Popular (Community Legal Clinic)
The Legal Clinic was established by survivors of the Rio Negro Massacre and its original legal objective was the fulfilment of the 1996 Peace Accords by facilitating access of victims of genocide and crimes against humanity to national and international legal systems and the National Restitution Commission. This work continues today through national and international channels. Because of the Clinic’s awareness of family violence and the lack of response to this issue in the legal system and the community, in late 2006 it opened the Office of the Achi Woman to educate women on their legal rights and to respond to issues of family violence, including education within the community and the legal system. In 2012, it opened a new office in Rabinal to better serve its clients, with thanks to funding from the Canadian Government and Avocats Sans Frontieres.
Fundacion Nueva Esperanza (New Hope Foundation), Rabinal (Connect via Website)
In 1996, Jesus Tecu Osorio, recipient of the 2010 Human Rights First Baldwin Medal, along with other survivors of the Rio Negro massacre, founded the Fundacion Nueva Esperanza (New Hope Foundation) with funds received from the Reebok Human Rights Award. It originally offered educational support (scholarships, computer training and tutoring) to Maya-Achi youth whose parents were victims or survivors of the 1980s genocide, thus contributing to the construction of a just and democratic state. In 2003 the Fundacion opened the New Hope Secondary School to offer educational opportunities for youth affected by the violence and to facilitate occupational, personal, social, and cultural programs designed to overcome causes and effects of the violence. At the present time the Fundacion offers a culturally relevant bilingual education junior high school program for the youth, from throughout the municipality of Rabinal, many of whom board at the school.
CEIBA (Connect via Website)
CEIBA is a non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1993 by a group of professional Guatemalans seeking to support capacity-building and integral, sustainable development in communities facing poverty and marginalization. They use Economic Solidarity (access to markets, creating an enabling environment, technical support) and Integral Health as indicators for sustainable development. Cross-cutting themes in their work are: gender, organization, culture and the environment. They work to increase accessibility to food, food security and food sovereignty and economic solidarity. They promote health as a human right and contribute to strengthening health systems based on both traditional knowledge and modern science. They seek to strengthen grassroots organizations and promote local management of development projects.