DREAMS REALIZED

COURAGE TO LIVE THE DREAM

“We are happy to achieve the goal but the truth is that it is a new experience and takes a lot of courage to be living this dream.” “We are Maya Ixil. Our home and community is Chajul, el Quiche, Guatemala. We are childhood friends who started planning for a farmers’ co-op when we were 8 years old.”

“We are now 34. Our dream was born in the year that we sat by the river bank, in a high mountain jungle, and started our planning with how to survive the armed conflict raging in our home town, and for a way to get enough food for children and old people. Our childhood dreams for the farmers’ association for Maya Ixil are now a reality.

In 2011 Manuel Laynez Anay, started the organizational work of forming a non-profit association for economic improvement, to eliminate malnutrition in the Ixil area of Guatemala, support well- being, and create job opportunities in the Maya Ixil region. They wanted to create opportunities that their parents did not have. As young people their parents were organized with a similar vision, but armed conflict prevented their achievement. They were afraid to follow their dream. They were forced from their lands where they had worked and harvested a variety of agricultural products by the fear of being beheaded, burned, hanged, shot or in every sense of the word, massacred. They fled to the jungle mountains to hide, all as a result of the internal armed conflict. One misfortune of all this is that there were many young orphans without schooling and no government support and nongovernmental organizations to support the people.

  • Manuel Laynez Anay’s father was killed in the genocide massacres. 

DREAMS OF MEMORIES

Lauire Levinger, published author

Laurie Levinger, retired social worker living and writing in Vermont, between her travels to Guatemala and Spain. Laurie’s website has information about her other books, videos, and on-line testimonies. Laurie’s website

Guerra inconclusa: La voz de los sobrevivientes (Unfinished War: The Voice of the Survivors) by Laurie Levinger is a book of testimonies published in Guatemala in September 2015 (in Spanish). The book is a collection of 30 verbatim testimonies from 2005–2013. Guatemalans from many different parts of the country, from different language groups and of different ages contributed their personal stories. The book is in Spanish and is available by emailing the publisher Editorial Maya Na’oj:Sr Daniel Much, mayanaoj@gmail.com  In December 2015 books can be ordered by emailing laurie levinger: laurie@levinger.net

Bright Star Grant Consultants, Inc. serves a wide variety of clients on a global scale. For more information about our services and Bright Star Philanthropy Partner’s initiative in Central America, please contact us at: Janet @ brightstarconsultants.com

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What War?

Photo by Laurie Levinger Testimonies of Maya Survivors http://www.levinger.net/laurie/writing/what-war/

Photo by Laurie Levinger
Testimonies of Maya Survivors
http://www.levinger.net/laurie/writing/what-war/

“I remember when I was 8 years old. At that time my parents forbade me to leave the house,and nothing more than the dying could be heard. We did not know who had died”.

“When we heard the sound of gunfire near the village, my parents would not work in the field but we stayed in the house.”

“I even have a friend that can’t forget where his father died. We were around eight years old and the soldiers grabbed his father in an apple tree and burned him, still alive, in front of him.”

“It was terrible because my mom has told me that sometimes people were just thrown in the streets, with no head. There were people, already dead, but with no head, no arms, no legs. The war damaged my family because it was very hard and still today people don’t forget– at least I don’t forget– because the war marked me with that memory.”

“When I have children I will tell them how I lived. That is to help them understand that you have to appreciate yourself. But I won’t go into great depth because maybe, from my point of view, it would hurt them, maybe, their minds. But yes, I’d tell them what I went through and what happened: just like my mother told me, I also have to tell my children.”

“There is still a great deal of pain. They’re afraid, because of the war. Maybe it was because the village isn’t developed economically and intellectually because we couldn’t study, there weren’t schools then, there weren’t classes, the soldiers came and they burned the schools and the church.”

The Power of Speaking and Hearing Truth.

Laurie listens to women in Bisan, Guatemala give testimony

Laurie listens to women in Bisan, Guatemala give testimony

The experiences of Maya individuals, families and communities during the internal armed conflict have been repeated countless times in countries around the globe.The words and emotions shared in Laurie Levinger’s 2009 book, What War? Testimonies of Maya Survivors  (Cual Guerra? Testimonios de sobrevivientes Mayas) could have been given by armed conflict survivors anywhere, anytime, in any war or conflict region.

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I Cannot Fail. There Are No Second Chances.

Mani+

Mani+/NutriPlus has developed a Ready-To-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) that rapidly and effectively combats the specific forms of malnutrition found in Guatemala

“I cannot fail.  There are no second chances”, said Miguel Cuj: Director of Research and Nutritionist for Mani+/Nutri Plus., Guatemala

Bright Star Grant Consultants Vice President, Janet Bourque, met Miguel in January 2011 when she volunteered to teach conversational English to Mayan university students in a program sponsored by the Maya Education Foundation in Antigua, Guatemala.  Miguel is an exceptional scholar that has played a “game changing” role in relationship to hunger and malnutrition in Guatemala.  As a professional colleague and friend, Miguel shares with Bright Star Philanthropy Partners our goal of shared value solutions in collective impact poverty alleviation through innovative solutions to hunger and malnutrition.

Miguel entered and graduated from University at a time when the percent of Mayans with this achievement was so small as to be hardly counted. He accomplished this through determination, passion for making a difference in the lives of his Mayan country men, and support from organizations and mentors who recognized his brilliance. His story is one of inspiration for Mayans and for those who support them.  Here is Miguel Cuj’s story, in his own words:

“I was born during a civil war. Fear and hunger were the everyday experiences of my childhood. In my own personal and professional experience as a Maya person in Guatemala, I see that my country still suffers from violence, racism, social and economic inequality, although the conflict officially ended in 1996 with the Peace Accords. It is for this reason that my interest developed in the holistic, qualitative and quantitative social health of my country. I would like to further my research into the political, economic, and social causes that result in the high rates of malnutrition in Guatemala. “

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Partners With A Purpose: Food Security

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Guatemala currently has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. More than 65% of rural area Guatemalan children under age 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition and hunger (UNICEF). Coffee leaf infestation by the fungus Roya has destroyed up to 80% of the coffee crop of the small holder farms in the highlands of Guatemala. The economic impact of income loss for day laborers is severe. There are reports that up to 85% of the children in the rural area of Chajul, Quiche, Guatemala are at high risk for malnutrition and hunger. Some reports are saying that Guatemala is the most mal-nourished country in the western hemisphere.

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Community Development Through Collaborative Action

 We are change agents.   Under the leadership of MANUEL LAYNEZ and Bright Star Philanthropy Partners we will change the situation of hunger for the Ixil Maya.  We will increase crop production and develop new jobs. We will change the barriers against education for the families with no resources. We will do this together because we know that if you practice the same things always, the results will be the same.  One has to practice different ways to get different results.

 

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