With primary funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and other individual benevolent donors, the BCAAFC and the Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council (PAYC) have been involved in an international exchange project with Indigenous Mayan Youth from Guatemala. Since 2006, Aboriginal youth from British Columbia have been engaged in a rich, bilateral cultural learning experience and are contributing to youth and community development in Guatemala.
To find out more about our BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres- Provincial Aborignial Youth Council (BCAAFC-PAYC) please click HERE.
About the "YOUTH HELPING YOUTH" project
The "Youth Helping Youth" project, is an exchange project, sponsored by CIDA. It supports the development of political and social participation for Mayan youth by addressing their needs for youth leadership development.
The Project is a partnership between the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), The Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council (PAYC), and the MOJOMAYAS, a group of indigenous Mayan youth.
The project provides training and capacity building, organizational support to the Mayan youth involved, and often assistance to help meet the basic needs of Mayan youth.
Voices from PAYC Youth
The "Youth Helping Youth" project has had a profound and lasting impact on all those involved, encouraging us to continue with our vision and further our partnership with the MOJOMAYAS of Guatemala.
Building Leadership Skills
The trip has contributed to my leadership skills tremendously; it has helped me build my confidence in public speaking. It also helped me take on more of a leadership role.
During my time in Guatemala, I have also felt a new leadership role taking place. Not only am I feeling more confident, I can now bring this assessment and newly developed skill to my own home; honoring the leaders around us and the leaders in ourselves.
Reconnecting With Culture
I believe I am a better person doing this trip and will benefit my community because of that. The MOJOMAYAS were so involved with their culture that it really makes you want to learn and be involved with more cultural activities in my community. Thanks for the opportunity to be involved with this.
To see that these people live their culture every day, through dressing in their traditional clothing and practicing their indigenous ceremonies, I have become more aware of how disconnected I am from my own culture. It has helped me to see that even though my culture has lost some of its richness, it can still be found through us; the youth of today and tomorrow.
Just being submersed in their culture and participating in there ceremonies touched me deeply. Seeing a culture so rich and vibrant made me personally want to learn more about my own and get more involved in my own indigenous culture. I am product of what residential school has done to my people, I can not speak my mother's language nor can she. I also live so far away from my traditional land and that has made it difficult to connect. After participating in this exchange it has encouraged me to seek out and reconnect more with my Haida Culture. I am excited at the idea of reconnect with my culture as much as possible.
Wanting to Make a Difference
This whole trip has been absolutely life changing. I can honestly say that without it I do not think that the person I am becoming would be possible and the newly alighted passion I am feeling for making a difference would not have been ignited!
Everything that I have learnt while on this journey has built this fire in my heart that will never go away and that I want to build in other peoples' hearts. Thank you for helping me have this experience, for giving me the opportunity to build and develop new friendships and family and giving me the fuel to the fire in my heart.
It is our hope that with external support and funding BCAAFC, PAYC, and the Mojomayas will be able to continue this project for years to come. The work of the "Youth Helping Youth" project is sustained in part by the commitment of donors. Please continue to help us support the vital work of our counterparts in Guatemala as they realize their vision of peace and equity, and strive towards social change while creating healthy communities.
For more information on the Guatemala Project please contact the Guatemala Project Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to contact our office listed below.
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
#200 - 506 Fort Street
Phone: 250 388-5522
Fax: 250 388-5502