photo submitted by Aleda Maya The Aleda Maya organization’s Louise Sosa with students in Chukumuk

photo submitted by Aleda Maya The Aleda Maya organization’s Louise Sosa with students in Chukumuk

Qualicum Beach charity helps students in Guatemala

Beadwork will be sold in Qualicum Beach at fair trade prices to fund the school

Beautiful hand made Christmas cards and beadwork are being sold locally to help fund students in Guatemala.

Aldea Maya, a small, registered charity based in Qualicum Beach, has been working with the Tz’tujil Mayans in the highland village of Chukumuk since 2007. The village was established by the survivors of the Panabaj mudslide that killed hundreds in 2005.

“Since education is the great equalizer, Aldea Maya started a middle school in the village in 2012,” said organizer Louise Sosa, who is excited to report they graduated their first students from Grade 9 recently.

“This is an amazing feat when one considers that less than one per cent of Guatemalans graduate high school. This is the first generation to get past Grade 6.”

She said the next step is to get the 23 grads through high school and since they will need to travel to high school, the charity is starting a bicycle program.

Aleda Maya is selling beadwork made by the Guatemalan students, which they buy at fair trade prices and sell to fund the school. They also sell cards made by District 69 students to fund education, nutrition and garden projects.

Perfect for Christmas, the items will be for sale at Parksville Winterfest, this weekend, Nov. 21-23 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre, as well as Our Glass in Parksville and Arbutus Fashions in Qualicum Beach.

Visit www.aldeamaya.ca for more on the group.