Project Type
Small grant projects
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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.

Main outcomes of the project, including key deliverables: 

  • To create the first community-based, free of violence, learning space of the community of Sanahcat.
  • To strengthen and develop leadership among children.
  • To rescue the memory and biocultural knowledge of Mayan ancestry.
  • A curricular plan (ideology and methodology), based on decolonial pedagogies and folk education.
  • To systematise the experience.
  • A podcast narrating the feelings and thoughts of children about their experiences.
  • A publication on the historical analysis of the violent past, that could shed light on the present (this includes the most current school violence).

The team consists of the Principal Investigator and three co-researchers.  At the same time, a local Mayan historian and community leaders will also collaborate with the team.

"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. "

Meet the team: 


Sara Oliveros López

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

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Albert Maurilio Chan Dzul

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

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Yamili Nidelvia Chan Dzul

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

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