The Maya Educational Foundation supports the educational and professional advancement of the Maya people and neighboring indigenous cultures in southern Mexico, Belize and Central America, and sustains programs that foster study, preservation and understanding of those cultures.
 
DONATE BY MAIL OR PHONE:
If you prefer to donate by mail, please make check payable to Maya Educational Foundation and send to:
 
Maya Educational Foundation
P.O. Box 1483
Wellfleet, MA 02667, USA 
 
Or call us at:
 
Tel. (508) 349-1330
 
 
MEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All contributions are U.S. tax-deductible.


 

MEF on

History

 

 
The idea for the creation of the Maya Educational Foundation was conceived in 1989 by a small group of individuals who had been informally helping a handful of Maya students from Guatemala to study at U.S. universities. Preliminary discussion made it clear that, for the amount used to support a single student in the U.S., one could support many more at the same level in Guatemala.
 
Contributions from a group of select and anonymous donors were then gathered and in 1992 the MEF began helping two Maya students advance their education in Guatemala. In the years since then, many Maya students have benefitted from MEF support in their quest for higher education in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. MEF programs have diversified over time and have grown to encompass a variety of efforts, all focused on its primary mission, education and cultural preservation.
 
 
 
University students, 2005
 
MEF received IRS approval in April of 1993 as a 501(C)(3) organization in the United States of America. Since 2002 it has operated under IRS public charity status, EIN: 03-0335159.
 
Since 1992 in Guatemala MEF’s university scholarship program has relied on various dedicated comités de becas (scholarship committees) which select students and monitor their progress. Initially MEF’s Guatemalan colleagues set up an office in Guatemala City, later another one in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city, advertised the scholarship program in newspapers and on the radio and saw applications coming in immediately.
 
Nowadays a select group of organizations and individuals assist MEF on fulfilling its mission. These scholarship programs are well known and little advertising is done to attract new students. 
 
 
 
Todos Santos scholarship students
with MEF board member, 2007

 
 
 
Mid-1990s
 
 
 
 
In the mid-1990s, MEF forged strong ties with two non-profit organizations in Chiapas, Mexico where the need for better educational opportunities is great. These organizations, FOMMA (Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya) and Sna Jtz’ibajom (House of the Writer), have helped MEF set up a scholarship program in Chiapas and select, oversee and assist the Maya students.
 
MEF, in turn, has supported their efforts in theater, play writing, literacy, Maya language courses, publications, workshops and other creative programs. Many Maya children and adults benefit from these programs, performances, and learning opportunities. 
 
 
 
 
 
FOMMA - Theater
 
 
Sna Jtz'ibajom - Literacy Workshop
 
 
 
Sna Jtz'ibajom - Theater, 2005
 
 
 
1990
 
 
 
 
 
 
Since the 1990s, MEF has been running a scholarships program in Jacaltenango and Todos Santos, Guatemala.
 
 
To date MEF offers programs in other remote areas of Guatemala, Chiapas and Belize.
 
 
 
Chiapas
Amigos de San Cristóbal, Sueniños Project
 
 
Belize
High School students

 
Todos Santos
Carpentry Workshop
 
 
 
2003
 
 
 
 
In 2003, MEF began sponsoring the project Oxlajuj B’atz (Thirteen Threads), a resource center for women artisans in Guatemala.
 
 
Ergonomic chair

 
 
Leadership workshop
 
 
Candle making workshop

 

 
2004
 
 
 
 
In 2004, MEF began collaboration with
the Chiapas Photography Project and Lok’tamayach.
 
 
Lok’tamayach
 
 
Chiapas Photograpy Project
 
 
Chiapas Photography Project

 

 
2006
 
 
 
 
In 2006, scholarship programs in three underserved regions in Chiapas and Guatemala and one in Belize were launched. MEF began collaboration with Amigos de San Cristóbal, the Julian Cho Society and Yax Te’ Books.
 
 
Amigos de San Cristóbal
 
 
Julian Cho students
 
 
 
Yax Te' - Making personal books
from recycled materials
 
 
 
2007
 
 
 
 
In 2007, MEF began collaboration with Fundación Tradiciones Mayas, a fair trade textile business and a non-profit social service organization working with indigenous Maya women in the highlands of Guatemala, 
 
 
and with Colegio Bilingüe Intercultural "Paxil", a middle school-level private school located in Nebaj, Guatemala, that recruits talented students from low income families living in rural communities of the Ixil region.
 
 
Maya Traditions production planning team
 
 
Classroom at Colegio Paxil
 
 
 
2009 
 
 
MEF had been exploring new program initiatives in remote areas of Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. 
 
 
In 2009 we began two new, small scholarship programs in Guatemala, one for four students in Livingston, and one for three students from Michbilrixpú who attend school two hours away in Salacuim, Alta Verapaz. In both places, students who manage to finish primary school are considered very lucky. 
 
 
The existing schools in both Michbilrixpú and Livingston are overcrowded and under-funded facilities lacking basic supplies and books. Education is by rote and, unless very motivated, students respond with boredom and apathy, with failing grades, absenteeism, and high drop out rates.
 
Livingston
Children's library
 
 
Michbilrixpú
Grade school
 
 
 
Also in 2009, the Maya Educational Foundation began a scholarship program for students living in and around San Pedro Chenalhó, a township in highland Chiapas, Mexico. The program will reach out to the most deserving and marginalized children in the area. Two high school students and one in middle school are currently enrolled and attending classes.
 
 
Chenalhó
High school student
 
 

 

MEF supporters have made it possible to help hundreds of students in different parts of Guatemala, south east Mexico and Belize.
 
MEF continues to explore collaborative partnerships with other organizations in order to implement new programs to benefit underserved groups.
 

Maya Educational Foundation • P.O. Box 1483 • Wellfleet, MA 02667, USA
Tel. (508) 349-1330 • Fax (508) 349-0252 • mef@mayaedufound.org