Who We Are
Board of Directors Office:
Vincent Hughes President
Ana Molina Executive Director
Katina Brea Secretary
Carlos Molina Treasurer
What Unidos Does
Unidos por Cojolya seeks funding and structural support for an academic center and artisan vocational training in order to diversify the workforce and economy to help the Tz’utujil Maya community thrive. Adult literacy rates in Santiago Atitlán are only about around 56% compared to the national average, which is approximately 76%. Unfortunately, dropout rates in Atitlán are high, and school enrollment after the 6th grade is a mere 24%. The inaccessibility of schools or the lack of quality education often push parents to pressure their children into more profitable pursuits such as artisan work.
Unidos por Cojolya contributes to the Tz’utujil Maya community through strategizing how to uplift a society heavily affected by systematic racism and colonialism. We aim to empower local families in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala across generations through supporting youth education, women’s economic empowerment, and the preservation of indigenous culture. We are a young organization, but, in the long-run we hope to support indigenous Guatemalans in their homelands as well as those who have emigrated to the United States.
Our Partner's Story
Founded by Cojolya’s former Marketing & Operations Director, Ana Molina, in 2017, Unidos por Cojolya is a 501(c)3 registered NGO based in Plano, Texas that fundamentally works with and for the people of Santiago Atitlán.
Unidos champions Guatemalan women artisans and at-risk indigenous youth in Santiago Atitlán and the U.S. through upholding the values of education, culturally competent job creation for indigenous peoples, and entrepreneurial development across generations.
Maya women artists and their families can be empowered financially without sacrificing their resilient indigenous culture nor their educational opportunities.
Letter from the Executive Director
2018 was a year of growth and learning, and we’re so grateful that you accompanied us on the journey. Thanks to our Board of Directors and donors across the US, we were able to support 13 children of Cojolya artisans during the 2018 school year.
In 2018, we were able to able to cut 50% of the costs of educational materials and computer usage for all thirteen students participating in Mano a Mano. Due to the support, students felt more relaxed and focused at school. Their school attendance improved as they did not worry as much about the need to save money for their families by dropping out. We also had many individual stories of success this year: one student was the first in his family to graduate middle school, one set an example for his younger sisters as a middle school graduate, another got her degree in education, and all committed to attending school another year.
We envision a world in which middle school students do not have to consider their family’s financial situation before doing their homework. We envision a world where indigenous students are taught Tz’utujil in schools, and their culture and traditions remain resilient. We envision a world where tradition does not equate to poverty and where progress does not mean losing a culture. This world is more than possible, it’s at our fingertips.
With your support, we made that happen for thirteen students for one year. Ja ben chik jiik 2019—let’s do it again in 2019!
Melti’ox chiwa ! Thank you ! Gracias!