Jose’s Story – Indigenous discrimination in Guatemala

Life is extremely hard for young people growing up in Guatemala, especially for indigenous people as they are often discriminated against within their own communities.

José’s parents are indigenous people of Mayan descent and he tells us how YMCA Guatemala has helped him teach other young people about co-existence and find employment in San Cristóbal.

“In every family there are problems. My brother likes drinking a lot and he can get into fights and I don’t like to be near that; I don’t like to be in an alcohol-fuelled environment. I started volunteering at the YMCA in 2010. My life has changed now because I can share my problems with my volunteer friends and I feel fulfilled.

“I was accepted to study teaching at University last year but I didn’t have enough money to continue the course and travel to university which was an hour away. Through my volunteering for the YMCA; I had the opportunity to obtain a diploma in youth leadership. It has been a wonderful experience and has truly left a mark on my life. Thanks to this I have been able to keep working and remain active in San Cristobal.

“I carry out workshops on sexual and reproductive healthcare, self-esteem, going to lectures and using tools to have the confidence to lead groups. We learnt how to include certain themes in our teaching such as respect, violence prevention and co-existence through games/sport; we have also learnt to say no in certain negative situations through sport.

“Please continue to support us, because we have a thirst to learn and thanks to the knowledge we have gained, we can continue to pass this on to other communities who need it.”

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