The Aid and Education Project, Inc.
“ El Proyecto de Ayuda y Educación “
Cultural Education Program
For most of us, it would be impossible to imagine a life where we know nothing of our ancestors, who they were, their language and literature, where they came from, their art & architecture, how they communicated, how they lived. But that is exactly the situation in the Maya world today. While North Americans and Europeans study this fascinating culture, the descendants of that culture have little or no opportunity to learn about their own past.
Almost all of the students in our program are indigenous children descended from the ancient Maya. Most retain Maya traditions, speak at least some of one of the Mayan languages, and most of the girls wear traditional Maya dress.
Thus, when school is not in session we offer classes on Maya history and culture. Such classes are nonexistent in the local schools the kids attend, and so our classes are the only glimpse most students ever get of this aspect of their own history. The classes help preserve the cultural heritage of the people and instill the kids with tremendous pride in their past.
Some of the topics we have taught to date include Maya mathematics and the calendar, Mayan glyphs, Maya crafts, Maya art & architecture, the Maya languages and literature, and the Popol Vuh (the creation story of the ancient Maya).
The primary mission of our organization in Guatemala is to provide poor children with a practical education, that is, reading, writing, and arithmetic, etc. However, if we can enhance that practical education by illuminating their cultural heritage, then we believe we are doing our job only that much better.