2015 Catalog for Change

Dear Friend of Natik,

Thanks for being part of the Natik family! In 2015 Natik Esperanza celebrated twelve years of international development work. Thanks to your generous financial support, our partners in the Mayan communities of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala and Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico continue to transform the lives they touch.

We invite you to learn more about our partners and how Natik has helped them succeed in the past year. Explore our website, and watch our videos, and read the catalog below. On behalf of our board, staff, fellows, volunteers, partners, and constituents, we wish you and your loved ones health, happiness, and fulfillment in 2016. We warmly appreciate your past participation and ask that you please consider including Natik in your year-end gifts and donations.

Recent Natik Videos

La Puerta Abierta Library

In areas where low incomes and poor education make books and literacy scarce, La Puerta Abierta Library is a lively, interactive learning center that generates excitement around books and education. The library is home to a preschool, a kindergarten, a first grade class, a teen reading program and early stimulation classes for mothers and infants. Twice a month, the library opens its doors to the scholarship students for academic support and life skill sessions.

  • $25 – A book bag for the Traveling Library.
  • $100 – A month of “Mommy and Me” classes for 20 mothers and 20 children
  • $500 – A half school year of visits from The Traveling Library for one school
  • $1000 – A full year of visits from The Traveling Library for one school


The John E Pike Memorial Book Fund

The John E Pike Memorial Book Fund supports reading programs in Guatemala and Mexico organized by staff of La Puerta Abierta. We are working on expanding our cross cultural collaboration of the youth of Santiago Atitlan and Zinacantan through the sharing of books and virtual book groups between La Puerta Abierta and Yo’onik. This special fund will go a long way in making that happen.

Scholarship Program

The Santiago Scholarship Program provides financial, academic, and life-skills assistance to highly-motivated students whose families lack the financial resources to support their educational goals. In exchange for their scholarship, students contribute to the community through service to local organizations. These students represent their family’s hope for an improved future, and we commit to funding each through high school and, in exceptional cases, through university.

  • $50 – A student for a month
  • $250 – A student for half a school year
  • $500 – A student for one full school year


Yo’onik Learning Center

Over the past five years, The Yo’onik Learning Center has grown from a borrowed storage hut to a vibrant new building thanks to Natik’s many friends and partners. Mentored by Puerta Abierta, it is amassing a library of books and educational toys and now offers a remedial education program run by Natik scholarship students. With the technical support of RiseNow, Yo’onik has constructed a recycled tire playground. The Lower East Side Girl’s Club of New York sponsored a teen photography project that has created a trilingual literacy book called El ABC de Mi Cultura.

Currently, Yo’onik is raising $5,000 for a modest kitchen area so they can offer full-day workshops to local groups including members of Mujeres Sembrando la Vida. Topics will include adult literacy, financial literacy, artisan project design and marketing, and entrepreneurial enterprise.

  • $50 – A package of books for the library
  • $100 – A two-month study stipend for a Zinacantan youth
  • $500 – A substantial contribution towards the completion of the kitchen


Mujeres Sembrando la Vida (Women Sowing Life)

For sixteen years, the two hundred female artisans of Mujeres Sembrando la Vida have been applying their traditional weaving patterns and embroidery skills to create products that compete in national and global markets. They named themselves “Women Sowing Life” because they believed that in addition to generating sustainable income for its members, the cooperative could contribute to the well-being of the community as a whole. Mujeres Sembrando la Vida has led reforestation efforts and the construction of low-smoke stoves, dry latrines, and rainwater capturing systems.


Introducing our New Language and Cultural Immersion Venture!

It is a victorious thrill for our Santiago Scholarship students to graduate high school; often they are the first in their families to do so. They are equipped with technical degrees in subjects like business administration, accounting, bilingual secretary, alternative tourism, and teaching. However, for many graduates, good employment is hard to find in Santiago Atitlán, and they must either move or accept the same low-paying jobs their parents have. In an effort to provide more opportunities for graduates, the Santiago Scholarship team joined forces with local organizations to create a business that could avail itself of the graduates’ skills.

We are pleased to announce that after two years of envisioning, planning, and prototyping, the language and cultural immersion program will launch in 2016. International students will select a week-long volunteer project, and during their stay in Santiago, they will live with families, practice Spanish or Tz’utujil both with a personal tutor and in formal classes, and learn about the Mayan Cosmovision through seminars and cultural activities conceived and executed by visionary Mayan youth. Be on the look-out for more updates!

Service Learning Trips

Natik was initially founded by university students with a sense of global responsibility. We continue in that spirit today by offering service learning trips to university and high school students. These trips provide students with concrete ways to contribute to our partners’ work and to learn about the social, economic, and cultural contexts in which they operate.

Your high school, university, or graduate program can join our mission. Email contact@natik.org.

Just Apparel in Transition

The mission of Just Apparel has always been to provide dignified work for economically marginalized women in Santiago Atitlán. Recently, we identified an opportunity to connect the Just Apparel artisans to a local cooperative of indigenous women with sustained operational success. The artisans and Natik have decided to use the proceeds from past sales and donations to secure membership in this cooperative. We will let you know when you can once again purchase their products. For more information please e-mail us at contact@natik.org.