Project Type
Small grant projects
Our Projects

U kúuchil kaambal kuxtal: School for life

Exploring decolonial pedagogies and folk education from Mayan communities’ perspective, as well as the possibilities of building a community-based learning space designed by Mayan people for Mayan children.

As a Mayan community, we can study the past in order to find some of the key causes of violence that is still perpetuated in the formal education system and has a direct impact on children. In this way, this proposal offers the possibility for the Sanahcat community to create its own space for the decolonisation of knowledge.  

It is also important to carry out this practical and community-based process because it will lead to a systematisation of the experience, which will be disseminated in various local, national, and with EdJAM, international spaces, which will make the challenges and lessons learned from this process known through academic publications. 

This project focuses on EdJAM’s area of work, Heritage Education and Everyday Lives, since it involves rescuing the ancestral memory of heritage, including the biocultural one. The implementation of the pilot project of a U kúuchil kaambal kuxtal: school for life, targeting Mayan children in the community of Sanahcat (Yucatán, Mexico), will provide an opportunity to put into practice decolonial and folk education pedagogies aimed at sharing useful knowledge for community life.

Main objectives:  

  1. Participatory development of a community-based learning curriculum for the Mayan children from Sanahcat (Yucatán, Mexico).
  2. Implementation of the pilot curriculum plan, Una Escuela para la Vida (A School for Life), for Mayan children aged 5-12.

This project will help Mayan children with limited economic resources (who have forgone a formal education by force), as well as Mayan girls and boys who are considered hyperactive or with attention deficits and who are rejected in schools and other community spaces.

The indirect beneficiaries will be the mothers, fathers, and carers of these children, since they are concerned about their lack of knowledge to face life.  Their community will also benefit from the project, because their social fabric can gradually be reconstituted if their boys’ and girls’ learning take place from a decolonising point of view.

"For the community-based learning work, children will learn from their own experiences through a harmonious development of the faculties of the mind, heart, and hands. How will we achieve this? It is only by starting to do it that we will know what it will be like. Education makes sense because women and men learned that they are made and remade by learning, because girls and boys should assume themselves as beings capable of knowing that they know, of knowing that they do not know, and of having an emotional approach to reality which involves imagination and feeling. "


As a result of the project, the Sanahcat community has its own space where children learn about their territory, how to take care of it and protect it, about their culture, traditions, customs and language, how to respect themselves, and play freely with confidence. A space where they can enjoy and learn about life, by seeing, touching, feeling, smelling and listening. A place where they watch the cycles of life pass by, like a bird who nests on a log, incubates its eggs, which then hatch and fly away. A space where the voice of children is the most valuable thing and where they can be children and at the same time have a critical view of life.

The focus of the project is a proposal for community learning (from the perspective of non-formal and folk education) for children aged between 5 and 12 in the community of Sanahcat, Yucatán, Mexico, through the creation of a physical space that we call U kúuchil kaambal kuxtal in the Mayan language, or school for life in Spanish, where a folk education curriculum was developed.

The curricular plan consists of an ideology and a specific methodology centred on the conditions of our community of Sanahcat, and tailor-made for the children who live in it, following a non-linear and non-hierarchical approach, where different elements intersect to shape the structure of our school for life. Our school consists of three modules which were designed in a transversal way: 1) local history, 2) revitalisation of the Mayan language and 3) gender perspective and human rights.

Key results of our project:

  • Creation of a first violence-free community learning space in Sanahcat.
  • Strengthening and building leadership among the children.
  • Rescue of memory and biocultural knowledge of Mayan ancestry.
  • Creation of a curriculum plan (ideology and methodology) from a perspective of decolonial pedagogies and folk education.
  • Piloting of the curriculum with the children of the Sanahcat community in Yucatán.
    Collaboration and alliance with organisations, collectives and schools to work in partnership and promote important issues.
  • Creation of a code of conduct, a sexual violence reporting form, a consent form for the use of image, voice, video and artwork, and a form for childcare.
  • Creation of two videos, entitled “Let’s speak our living language” and “School for life”. (Videos in Spanish turn on subtitles and English translation)
  • Collective story: “La Lucha de Sak Lol” (“Sak Lol’s Struggle”).  (only available in Spanish)



Meet the team: 


Sara Oliveros López

Legal representative and Head of the Institutional Strengthening Area of U Yich Lu'um. Project co-investigator.

view details

Albert Maurilio Chan Dzul

Responsible for the Territorios de Vida area in U Yich Lu'um and co-investigator of the Project.

view details

Yamili Nidelvia Chan Dzul

Head of Community Learning at U Yich Lu'um and Principal Investigator of the project.

view details
our funders

EdJAM is funded by

our partners

We collaborate with partners around the world large and small