Melel Xojobal A.C.

Melel Xojobal is a children's rights organization based in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Our mission is to promote and defend the rights of indigenous children and young people through participatory educational programs that improve their quality of life. At Melel Xojobal we work in a participatory manner to promote the strengthening of indigenous cultural identity, to defend human rights, to strengthen personal and cultural dignity, to ensure that justice and liberty are respected, and that the participation of all is ensured regardless of race, gender, creed, religious affiliation or ideology. We believe that education is a fundamental means by which people exercise self-de...
Aug 13, 2014

Working children holds a press conference

Press conference
Press conference

On june 7th, Melel Xojobal together with working children and adolescents, held a press conference. The subject was "for our right to a quality education"

Over 60 people attend including media and education autorithies. The working children and adolescents share their worries about the difficulties of the educational system in Chiapas, specially for people with low income.

Some of the statements were:

"No every children attend to school, no everyone can afford it or there is children without birth certificate"

"In some schools, there is not water in the toilets and they don´t provide security, anyone can access and some times drunk men enter into the schools"

"The teachers do not respect our culture, there are currently no bilingual teachers (tsotsil)"

The government continues to violate the right to education of the most vulnerable children. The first cause of dropout school, is because the families don´t have money to pay transport, books, uniforms and material. The free school system is "not free" after all, some quotas are charge to the families and some school teachers even charge money for material and tests. And the school conditions in some cases are awful, without toilets or roof. 

The interesting thing about this activity was that the media among other people had the opportunity to listen to the children speaking about their rights; very often we think that children do not have the ability to decide on their lives and their rights; but Melel´s approach is different, we know they can make desicions for themselves and be protagonits of their lifes.

Sharing a story about violence at her school
Sharing a story about violence at her school
Public
Public

Links:

May 14, 2014

6 event of girls, boys and teenagers workers

Registration
Registration

In May we had the sixth annual event of girls, boys and young workers. This event last 4 hours, where the children and the teenagers were able to share experiences, life stories and talked about their rights.

30 children and teenagers, assist to the event, and 100% were in school and planning to continue with their education. Which means that Melel´s goal has been accomplished, at least for those 30 children and teenagers.

During the event, we gave them a t-shirt, lunch and we play lots of educational games. You could see the youngest ones speaking about their rights at the podium with the microphone, it was really emotive.

The importance of this event, was to create a safe space where the children and the teenagers can share similar experiences, thoughts, problems and understand that they are not alone. Is also a moment to think about the possible solutions of what they are facing and ensure a strong social network to make them feel empowered.

 We are vey grateful about all your generous donations y we want to thank global giving for giving us the opportunity of raising money, that help us increase our educational activities, benefiting more children every day.

Just having fun
Just having fun
Dancing while playing
Dancing while playing
The teams
The teams
My rights count too
My rights count too
Too much work, is Taco time!
Too much work, is Taco time!

Links:

Mar 13, 2014

Melel's birth certificate campaign

Page 1 of one of our leaflets, in Tsotsil
Page 1 of one of our leaflets, in Tsotsil

In February we launched a campaign to encourage families to obtain birth certificates for their children, as well as continuing the other activities of the project.

Obtaining a birth certificate and a registered legal identity is an essential prerequisite for enrolling children in school, and for them to qualify for government health programs. Despite this, lack of registration remains a major barrier which contributes to thousands of children in our city not attending school.

According to government statistics for 2010, nearly half of all children in Chiapas under the age of one had not yet obtained a birth certificate. There is no equivalent figure for the indigenous Mayan population (around a third of all people in Chiapas), but it is certainly much lower, as they constitute the poorest and most marginalized section of society.

Our campaign includes putting up posters, handing out leaflets and explaining to people how to register their children. So far, we have put up 72 posters in public places, mostly in markets, which are visited by thousands of people every day and are central in the lives of both the indigenous and mestizo population. So far we have handed out 90 leaflets in the Mayan Tsotsil language and 92 in Spanish, explaining to the recipients how they can register their children.

In addition, we have prepared radio announcements for the campaign (also in Spanish and Tsotsil) which are currently being broadcast on six community radio stations and also in the radio stations of the Merposur and Tielmans markets.

We expect this work to substantially increase registrations this year.

Following pressure from child rights organizations including Melel Xojobal, the government is slowly moving to address this issue. During the month of April families can now obtain the document free of charge. The state government has also commissioned a review to see how the registration process can be made easier and less bureaucratic.We are also working with the Civil Registry office to encourage them to create out-reach teams to continue the activities we are currently running.

There is a long way to go however. We still encounter stories of families turning up at government offices to be told they have run out of forms, or that the relevant staff are not present. Discriminatory attitudes against indigenous people also remain a problem. During April we will be paying close attention to identify these kinds of problems in order to press the government to do more.

Once again, a big thank you to all our GlobalGiving donors for your support for this work, which is tremendously important to get children into school and help families protect their rights.

Poster - "Obtaining a birth certificate"
Poster - "Obtaining a birth certificate"
Explaining how to obtain certificates
Explaining how to obtain certificates
Mother and daughter with one of our leaflets
Mother and daughter with one of our leaflets
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