Maya First Mission
EXACTLY WHAT IS MAYA FIRST?
The Mission Statement of Maya First: Maya First works to provide the Maya children with better educational opportunities, empowering them (and their families) with the necessary skills to prosper while taking a lead role in the preservation of their environment and their own strong, wondrous culture.
We believe that the future of the modern day Mayan people is in their children. Education is the key to helping the children to a better life. A proper, well-rounded education, stressing the fundamentals of mathematics, reading and writing skills, basic science and history will prepare the Mayan children for the challenges of life in the 21st century. We also believe that a good education will make them better citizens, granting them access to better jobs, greater prosperity and a better life. Although there is some public education, almost all of that is in the larger cities such as Belmopan and Belize City. In the very rural areas like San Antonio, the only education available is church supported schools, where tuition is charged. Though inexpensive by American standards, it is unaffordable for most of the farming community. This is a serious problem. A better education will encourage them to embrace the history of their culture and to find ways to express their knowledge of their own cultural heritage. We also realize that education isn’t just about learning, or acquiring skills or about history, but also how to protect their environment, which will help preserve their future.
There are many different ways to achieve these goals. One is to teach skills to the Mayan people. To this end, we have created a workshop and sawmill where wood working skills can be learned and put to direct use by the employees. This workshop will also be a center for learning the skills needed to secure good jobs. We are also encouraging the young Mayan artisans to expand their skills and learn new techniques to create products for the tourist industry in Belize and throughout Central America. To this end we are donating our time, knowledge and materials to encourage this artistic growth, as well as a sense of entrepreneurship. We want to encourage them to start and build their own businesses. Maya First also seeks to promote unity by our sponsorship of cultural events, festivals and our annual dinner for our members and local employees.
We know that in order to foster a more affluent atmosphere, we need to expand the tourist trade in Belize. We helped to build some tourist attractions in the San Antonio area, such as our “Children’s Opportunity Tower”, a 100’ tall observation tower where each of the 150 steps is decorated with a mosaic design created by the local school children. The tower provides a platform were visitors are able to see amazing vistas, bird watch and just enjoy the magnificent views, all proceeds of which will help to finance the needs of the area schools.
Maya First would like to work with the local governments and the Office of Finance and Tourism to help expand the tourist trade in Belize. We hope to increase tourism in the area by as much as 150%!
We want to create a window of opportunity to encourage people to visit Belize. We know that this has the potential to help local economies as well as a boost to the overall economy of Belize. We hope to be of great service to all in this endeavor. We are very confident that we can and that we will accomplish this goal.
Maya First is a US based non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping the Maya children with education while preserving their rich culture and environment. We believe that the future of the modern day Mayan people is in their children.
The Mayans are very disenfranchised, similar to the plight of the Native Americans in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's, 1960’s and the AIM Movement of the 1970’s. The world-wide economic downturn has resulted in an increased need for sustainability among the Maya people whose primary income comes from farming and site work.