The Odyssey
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Bladimiro's Proposal

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Youth for Peace
Capital of Department of Huehuetenango
1998-2000
Central Government and Non-Governmental Organizations
Professor Bladimiro Palacios R.

Information
I. Name of Project
II. Center of Administration
III. Objectives
IV. Period of Initiation
V. Supporting Institutions
VI. Responsible Party

Presentation

Huehuetenango is a department with a very high percentage of indigenous people. It was also one of the hardest hit areas during the war that shook our country for more than thirty-six years. The death of many campesinos and others and the violation of basic human rights that occurred during the war have left a permanent scar, as reflected in the countenance of the children and orphans who have been deprived of sufficient guidance from their parents.

According to the peace accords, all Guatemalans have equal rights without discrimination. But when we look to the heart of the social conditions in the Department of Huehuetenango (Huehue), we see that our youth are misled, with uneasiness, questions, and yearnings about a better life. They are not given opportunities, and for this reason this proposal was created to give youth in Huehue an opportunity for positive experiences that can help lead them to a path of truth and light and wellness.

With a small economic investment and the collaboration of municipal authorities, this path for opportunity can become a reality. Opening an office for youth which will work with smaller municipalities in the area to maintain an organization and provide social, cultural, and sports activities for the youth of Huehue, would give youth a positive alternative to turn to in the face of increasing alcohol and drug abuse. Extra attention would be given to those municipalities that were hardest hit by the violence of the war during the 1980's whose children are still traumatized and more disposed to have social problems.

Objectives

  1. To organize the youth of the department of Huehuetenango, opening an office for youth in each municipality.

  2. To take youth who are traumatized and mentally unbalanced from being victims of the war of the 1980's and direct them toward a healthy path, enlisting the help of specialists in this cause.

  3. To establish relationships between offices in the different municipalities to maintain harmony and conviviality between the youth, exchanging social and cultural knowledge as well as sports participation in order to cultivate a culture of peace in our environment.

  4. To organize and unite the youth of the municipalities, trying to reincorporate them into normal life. With some, to take them away from drugs, delinquency, and other ills of humanity.

  5. To establish direct contact between authorized government officials, NGOs, and the department of youth, organized in sub-seats in the municipalities.

  6. To support positive activities with the youth, especially in our country's current post-war stage.

  7. To orient street children in positive activities so that they participate equally and are not discriminated against.

Justification

The program would open a space for the youth of the department of Huehuetenango. It would take into account the fact that because of the lack of opportunity and power to release their energy in a positive way, the youth have lost their way to a certain extent. Adolescent youth are in a phase of their life in which they can flourish. However, sadly some have succumbed to the vices of drug addiction, alcoholism, and other harmful behaviors.

Making a detailed analysis of the problems that our youth of Huehuetenango face, we are realizing that they have never really worked in the fields although it is fertile land that can give much abundance for our department, for it is our native land.

The social infrastructure is well organized in the department of Huehuetenango. However, in some cases the youth in our community have been misdirected. As such, it is important to channel them in a more positive direction, keeping them occupied in sports and cultural and social activities.

According to the Guatemalan peace accords, it is necessary to involve all sectors in search of peace in our country. It is for this reason that the youth must participate toward this goal.

"The youth are not the future of a country, they are the destiny of today."

Philosophy of the Program

Based in the department of Huehuetenango, the program "Youth for Peace" has been created with the goal of organizing the youth of the thirty-one different municipalities and motivating them to get involved in positive activities that will bring them security, harmony, and peace. The hope is that they will stay away from drugs and alcohol and instead put their energy toward their cultural heritage, healthy socialization, and participation in sports. With a place to congregate and socialize, these adolescents will have the opportunity to exchange experiences and find support. Many of them feel traumatized and isolated from society as a result of their indigenous identity and the effects of a war that our country endured for more than thirty years. Huehuetenango was one of the departments that was most affected by the terrible violence of this war.

Support for this preliminary project has been solicited from government authorities as well as certain NGOs, in hopes that economic, social, and moral support will be given to launch the program.

This project is not sponsored by any political or religious organization. The intent is only the participation of all youth in the municipalities of Huehuetenango.

Organization

The project will have a Departmental Coordinator (DC), who will have the responsibility of organizing the thirty-one Municipal Coordinators. The Municipal Coordinators (MC) will be responsible for organizing the Community Coordinators whose role will be to coordinate activities in the rural communities.

Each Municipal Coordinator will be in charge of planning a variety of activities each month in the following areas:

  1. Cultural

    • Social-cultural nights, instrument instruction, etc.

  2. Sports

    • Hiring coaches for soccer and basketball.
    • Organizing teams in each municipality and a regular schedule of games.

  3. Social

    • Excursions
    • Camping trips
    • Vocational skill orientations
    • Spiritual orientation

Conclusions

  1. The armed conflict that our country endured for more than thirty years caused the disintegration of the family. Children saw their family members die or emigrate to escape the violence. The young children who experienced this trauma are now adolescents with psychological, social, and family problems. They are lost victims of the ills of society.

  2. Given these factors, helping our youth will create a more stable society with improved citizens who collaborate wholly in the efforts toward peace.

  3. The project represents an economic investment, and in time positive results will be seen. These youth will help lead their communities to peace, justice, and truth.

Recommendations

  1. That governmental authorities and/or NGOs that support this preliminary project help to sustain a strong social structure.

  2. That municipal authorities who collaborate with the youth of their municipality do so without discriminating on the basis of religious creed, political ideology, race, or sex.

  3. That the authorities and NGOs help reincorporate into society the morally, emotionally, and psychologically unstable youth who bear deep wounds from the war of the 1980's.

  4. That authorities, teachers, and society in general acknowledge the children of the street as bodies that disseminate the process of peace.

     
     
     
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