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Volunteer

in Xela Guatemala

Studying Spanish with Pedro: fun, comprehensive, clear and incredibly productive. The man has a devious wit that makes for lighthearted learning, not too mention a knack for helping you attain comprehensible clarity under your own steam - a far more rewarding & retain-able achievement than simply being told the 'answer'.
Michael Sean Walters, Sydney, Australia

I’ve been to Centro Maya Xela to study twice. Once with my brother and recently with my son. It’s a fun family experience it was a good way to share the beauty and struggles of Guatemala with my son. If you like backpacking, biking and outdoor adventure there’s plenty to do in and around Xela. We plan on going back every other year. My son was so excited about his experience there that his Spanish teacher in his junior high school here in the US is now doing a Skype lesson for the students in her classroom twice a month!
Scott C. USA

I first went to Centro Maya to study Q'anjob'al in 2001 while I was a graduate student.I've gone back to Centro Maya almost every year since 2001, sometimes for language study, and other times just to visit. It's very different from the big, impersonal language schools you find in some places; if you study at Centro Maya you are definitely treated like family. I have maintained friendships not only with my teachers and host family, but also with some of the Mayan women scholarship recipients and some of the other foreign students who have studied there. When I became a faculty member, I brought my own college students there to study. I particularly recommend Centro Maya to anyone who is serious about learning Mayan languages or wants to do research on Mayan culture as the owners are all Maya.
Mary Holbrook Indiana USA

I have studied with Pedro at Centro Maya Xela for two years -- a month in Guatemala and the remainder of the time online with weekly lessons.  As a Spanish teacher, it is very important that I maintain strong skills in Spanish. Pedro makes Spanish fun and relevant to the real world.  He also demands the best from me and makes sure that I meet his expectations. I will study with Pedro again in Guatemala this summer, and I look forward to many years of lessons with him.
Christine M. Spanish Teacher Pennsylvania

Volunteer Projects In Guatemala

Centro Maya Xela Scholarship Program For Mayan Women

Starting in 1993 with the founding of our school, we began a full college scholarship program for young indigenous women from various Maya linguistic groups. Our program offers these women full tuition and room and board in a residence, as well as full coverage of all other education-related expenses. The young women live together in an atmosphere of mutual support which enables them to continue strengthening their Maya identities. In Guatemala, there still exists discrimination against indigenous people, but for Mayan women, the discrimination is not only ethic-based, but gender-based as well.

Most of us in our school speak very little English. We are always in need of people that can help us promote our school and scholarship program using today’s technology, of which we know very little. Although our teaching staff is university educated, we haven’t had the resources to fully utilize or understand how to maximize our marketing using today’s technology. You don’t need to come to Xela to help us. We are wanting to promote our language program to schools, universities, churches, or any other organizations that might want to help sponsor us by recommending or online study program and our study program here in Xela. With the addition of new foreign students, we are able to add more Mayan women to our scholarship program and create more jobs for our indigenous people.

The scholarship program at Centro Maya Xela represents the hopes and dreams of several indigenous women who have aspirations of making a difference in our country for generations to come. One of the requirements for the university scholarship participants is that these women return to their poor local communities and work after graduating. Some of the scholarship participants are now physicians, attorneys, social workers and community leaders. Through their education they are making a huge difference in their small and poor communities. By studying Spanish with Centro Maya you are not just learning a language, but you are helping make the dreams of these young indigenous women come true.

 

El Rosario Community Medical Clinic Project In Santa Eulalia

Our small clinic is located in Santa Eulalia and we service several poor rural communities including San Mateo, San Sebastián, San Miguel and San Rafael La Independencia. In Guatemala, healthcare facility and staffing conditions in rural areas contrast sharply to those in urban settings. While large cities boast of state-of-the-art facilities for healthcare, rural areas often have health service programs that are noticeably overwhelmed and stretched beyond their limits.

We are seeking healthcare volunteers to help us in our clinic and in the surrounding towns to assist us with medical care, for adults, children, child birth and emergency care. As a medical volunteer in Guatemala, your insight and medical expertise is strongly valued. The project is perfect for both healthcare students and professionals. During the project, you will assist the clinic’s doctor, Dr Lucas Pedro Toledo with patient care both in the clinic and in the field.

The healthcare industry in modern-day Guatemala is less than developed, often offering substandard facilities to its ailing citizens. Volunteers can expect to observe and interact with patients and medical professionals in many activities ranging from administrative duties of reception areas, to nursery support, traveling and everything in between.

We are also seeking help with raising money to buy an ambulance for our clinic, medical supplies and medicine. We don’t have the resources for to buy even the most basic things that would save lives in our poor communities. To participate as a volunteer in this project, we recommend you have an intermediate or advanced knowledge of Spanish.

Please contact us for more information on volunteering with our clinic.

K´amawik´ The Friendship School

At Centro Maya we have recently initiated a volunteer project with a school in Momostenango named K´amawik´, which is K’iche for Friendship. The Guatemala Friendship School Foundation is a non-profit organization working to provide free quality education for those who otherwise couldn't afford to attend school.

Since 2000 the Friendship School has educated over 500 disadvantaged mayan students and the program is growing. We are looking for volunteers to teach english to students 12 to 16 years old. You do not need to be a Spanish speaker to participate. The school is an hour and a half bus ride from our school in Xela.

The justification for this project is quite simple. We feel that by providing the children with a basic introduction to some of the fundamentals of the English language, we can help prepare them for further studies at higher levels. Guatemalans have difficulty with this subject because there are very few English teachers in rural areas, and most are unqualified. We believe that by providing this sort of introduction to the language in a non-threatening environment, children who continue their studies may find their transition to English language study somewhat less arduous and even fun. By volunteering with the Friendship School, you will be giving a gift that will open up windows of opportunities for those who have so few.

Volunteering With Other Projects

Centro Maya Xela works with many different nonprofit organizations working on social projects with the local indigenous people that need volunteers. Volunteer jobs can range from teaching math to village children, to developing sustainable agriculture, to medical work in clinics, to working in orphanages for disabled children. For anyone in a giving frame of mind, the possibilities are endless.

 
 

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