Our program in this poverty stricken Tzutuhil village began in 1997 with grants from Soros, Agostino and Reuters Foundations to support our Under the Shadows project, a six year program that worked with children to examine the effects of the war years on them in rural communities around the country.
Some of the students who took part in the original program now work for the Commission on Human Rights and study journalism and law in university. Others, who received training in photography, digital story development and graphic design, went on to work for the organization’s design studio, Jakaramba!
This program has continued and additional Tzutuhil Fotokids graduates serve as teachers in Santiago Atitlán, training young students from primary school onwards in the basics of photography, Photoshop and graphic design and critical thinking. The students are part of the Fotokids scholarship program.
A Fotokids graduate from Santiago Atitlán works as a social worker visiting student’s families and their schools every month to help resolve problems.
Fotokids brought our successful photography program to Honduras to work in the village of Las Mangas after the devastation fraught by Hurricane Mitch in the year 2000. The village is located on the edge of the Pico Bonito National Park, between the shores of the raging Cangrejal River and the Cloud Forest. Since it’s inception the program’s focus has been the use of photography and design to promote environmental education and conservation of the beautiful, unique natural resources that abound in the region.
The program uses photography, graphic design, and media technology as a tool for self-expression, creativity, critical thinking, leadership and vocational training. Older students who have been at least 3 years in the program teach younger students, and the project now serves over seventy students from 4 communities.
Fotokids scholarship program has raised education levels from just 10% of young people continuing their education past the 6th grade primary, to 90%.
taught computers and photography in the school system, work as representatives with the National Park service, serve as professional guides on a nature trail they created and built, and designed and operated an interactive nature museum.
Their award winning photographs have appeared in prestigious magazines such as Nature’s best and Ranger Rick. A Guaruma student has been a finalist twice in the BBC Young Nature Photographers competition
The students from 9 to 18 years old, have created an interactive environmental classroom, provided environmental lectures to over 50 local schools, produced a learning DVD on the regional watershed, taught computers and photography in the school system, work as representatives with the National Park service and serve as professional guides on a nature trail they created and built, and designed and operated an interactive nature museum. They are working as eco tourism guides and have set up their own eco tourism business.
Naturally the importance of conserving their country’s natural resources is one of the major themes stressed. The photography/media project has created a curriculum that can be replicated by other Central American teachers living in environmentally vulnerable areas.
Contributions to the project can be made in our secure payment system, PayPal. Please remember to specify that your donation is intended for GUARUMA the Honduran project.