MEF on
 
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.

 

   Home      About us      History

History

 

 
The Maya Educational Foundation (MEF) began through the efforts of Christopher Lutz, Peter Welch, and other members of the Guatemala Scholars Network (GSN), an organization begun in 1982 by US academics concerned about the violence in Guatemala. Marilyn Moors, MEF Board President (1992-2012) and GSN founder describes the formation of MEF: 

As young Maya men and women began to take up their lives again under conditions of relative calm, the poverty and racism that had limited their educational chances became clear stumbling blocks to their futures. Discussions begun at a GSN meeting prompted Chris Lutz and other GSN members to organize in 1992 the Maya Educational Foundation (MEF) as a way to encourage the development of an educated, professional group of Mayas who could become a force for change. We quickly learned that we could support ten students in Guatemala for what it would cost to support one in the United States. So, relying on several young Maya academics, Irma Otzoy, Enrique Sam Colop, Demetrio Cojtí, and others who had received degrees outside Guatemala MEF helped them to establish the Programa de Becas Mayas. They advertised the scholarships, interviewed the candidates and selected the recipients.

In 2003 the PBM board became a Guatemalan NGO — FEPMaya (Fundación para Estudios y Profesionalización Maya). Since 1992, over 120 students have received degrees in various fields as a result of receiving scholarships supervised by FEPMaya. The organization typically supervises 50 students each year. 

 
 
 
In 1993 MEF forged ties with two non-profit Maya-led organizations in Chiapas, Mexico, La FOMMA (Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya) and Sna Jtz’ibajom (House of the Writer). These organizations grew out of the work of anthropologist and linguist Dr. Robert Laughlin and his wife Miriam. MEF began by supporting programs of these organizations that provide literacy in Mayan languages and educational workshops. In 1998 the two organizations and MEF inaugurated a scholarship program for university students. Each organization supervises up to 25 students at any one time. To date over 200 Maya young people have obtained a University degree through MEF’s support. Most of MEF’s current programs and partners oversee university scholarships. 

As the MEF board looked at enrollment patterns over time, we could see a bias against rural Maya from remote areas, as opposed to those living in or near cities or close to the Pan American highway. Encouraged by board members with backgrounds in these areas, and with the help of committed Maya colleagues, in the mid 1990s we began supporting younger students in areas where there was little or no access to elementary, middle, and high school. These programs are small in number and only exist where we have contributors who care about these areas and a trusted community committee to select and supervise the students. 

Over the years MEF has branched out so that it now supports additional educational endeavors such as workshops teaching literacy in Mayan languages, a project involving a dialogue about history and memory in Guatemala, programs for women weavers and their children, and programs to train health workers. Furthermore, MEF provides English language lessons on several levels. In all cases, MEF’s role is to find the funding for these projects and scholarships while entrusting the selection and supervision of program participants to our partners.
 
 
 
Time Table

 
 

In April of 1993, MEF received IRS approval 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 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.


 
In 2003, MEF began sponsoring the project Oxlajuj B’atz (Thirteen Threads), a resource center for women artisans in Guatemala.
 
In 2004, MEF began collaboration with the Chiapas Photography Project and Lok’tamayach. 



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.

 
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. 


 
In 2009 we began two new, small scholarship programs in Guatemala, one in Livingston, Izabal and one in Michbilrixpú, Alta Verapaz. In both places, students who manage to finish primary school are considered very lucky.
 
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 reaches out to the most deserving and marginalized children in the area.   
 
 

 

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