Sna Jtz'ibajom

(House of the Writer)

This writers’ group in San Cristóbal de Las Casas has fought for the preservation of Maya culture and promotion of literacy since 1983. The group’s members have produced many plays and performances, written books, grammar and language manuals, taught literacy and indigenous language courses, and carried out video and radio projects.

Over the past two decades MEF has been able to provide support to Sna for bringing indigenous language courses Mayan Language Literacy Courses to Tseltal- and Tsotsil-speaking communities in Chiapas. In these courses, Maya children and adults are learning to read and write in their own languages. There is great interest and thousands of children and adults have participated in and graduated from these courses. We encourage your support for the purpose of preserving Mayan languages and cultural traditions.

MEF launched a university scholarship program with Sna Jtz’ibajom in 1998. It has seen 92 students graduate and currently supports 31 students in a variety of disciplines, including agronomy, physical education, communications, anthropology, law and nursing.

Mayan Language Literacy Courses

While advancing modern objectives, one of MEF’s long-standing priorities is the preservation and continued use of Mayan languages in Maya communities. To facilitate this, Sna Jtz’ibajom members train and supervise instructors who teach reading and writing in the Chiapan Mayan languages Tsotsil and Tseltal, in both San Cristóbal de Las Casas and in the surrounding rural communities.

To date more than 4,000 children and adults have taken these weekend courses and learned to read and write the languages they speak. Beyond this, teachers offer literary contests and encourage creative writing, the best examples of which have been published. Both groups also encourage the use of Mayan in mastering modern communication applications like computers and cell phones, so that Spanish does not become the de facto language of technology.

Your donation of $200 a month supports a Maya student at university level.