10-Day Program Visits
The program consists of a very large number of meetings and visits. Typically, the group visits Oventic, which is one of the Zapatista centers (caracoles), Acteal, a village where many inhabitants were massacred by paramilitaries in 1997, and Abasolo, an indigenous village engaging in sustainable development projects.
In San Cristobal, the program typically works with many of the following groups:
Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas de Acción Comunitaria (CIEPAC), the Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action, provides access to an alternative analysis of current events throughout Chiapas. CIEPAC assists communities with decision making and communicates the issues in Chiapas to national and international audiences.
SIPAZ, a program of international observation, began in 1995 following the Zapatista uprising. Today SIPAZ supports the search for nonviolent solutions that contribute to the construction of a just peace through building tolerance and dialogue among the actors in Chiapas as well as, increasingly, in other areas in Mexico.
Fundacion Leon XIII works with a wide number of indigenous communities to design projects for sustainable development, provide technical assistance, and obtain loans for projects such as educational initiatives or rebuilding homes. Fundacion also has a number of programs aimed to ensure that basic rights such as health, food, housing, work and education are made available to women and children.
Melel Xojobal runs a children’s project in San Cristobal, which includes two components: a children’s day care center and a street program. The cay care center, open to children up to age 5 whose parents cannot afford child care, provides two meals and basic education to stimulate their mental and physical development. The street program uses alternative educational processes to work with the youth population working or living on the streets of San Cristobal.
Jolom Mayaetik is a cooperative of 350 Tsotsil- and Tseltal-speaking indigenous women weavers from 6 different highland communities in Chiapas. Its focus is economic and political autonomy for indigenous women, and community literacy, education and health. The cooperative provides its members with economic and learning opportunities.
Union Majomut is a coffee collective made up of over 1,700 coffee-growing families from 5 Tsotsil and Tseltal communities in the Chiapas Highlands. Majomut sells its coffee through the Fair Trade industry to Europe, the U.S. and Japan, and has a small roasting facility near San Cristobal, which also allows it to sell products on a local and national level. The collective is highly organized with elected representatives and mechanisms for the creation of social services, health education, technical assistance and loan programs for members.