2016 Catalog

Dear Friend of Natik,

Natik Esperanza is now in our thirteenth year of international development work. Thanks to your loyal financial support, our partners in the Mayan communities of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala and Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico continue to transform lives and communities. Please browse this catalog to learn more about our partners’ exciting news from 2016!

As always, more information, including videos and artisan products, may be accessed online. On behalf of our board, staff, fellows, volunteers, partners, and constituents, we wish you and your loved ones health, happiness, and fulfillment in 2017. We sincerely appreciate your past collaboration with Natik and ask that you please consider including Natik in your year-end gifts and donations. Thanks for being part of the Natik family!

Recent Natik Videos

Santiago Scholarship Program

Our Scholarship Program provides financial, academic, and life-skills support to exceptional students from families without the financial ability to support their educational goals. This year the Natik scholars were selected by Unlocking Silent Histories, an organization that helps youth in marginalized areas understand the media and teaches them how to portray their social and cultural reality through producing their own videos. These extraordinary students are Santiago’s hope for a brighter future, and Natik commits to funding each of them through high school.

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

Ruk’ux Language and Cultural Immersion

The victory of being the first in their families to graduate often turns into confusion and disappointment when students realize that Santiago’s job market has very little to offer people with their skills. Our challenge was to create an entrepreneurial venture that combines the technical certifications of our high school graduates in subjects like business administration, accounting, bilingual secretarism, alternative tourism and teaching.

This year the students collaborated on the creation of Ruk’ux, a Language and Cultural immersion enterprise that will bring additional visitors and income tourist dollars to Santiago, generate jobs for university students to help finance their continuing studies, and contribute to scholarships for younger students.

The result is a program that offers international students a selection of weeklong volunteer projects with local organizations. Participants will have the opportunity to live with local Santiago families, practice Spanish or Tz’utujil by way of a personal tutor and formal classes, and learn about the Mayan Cosmovision during seminars and cultural activities that Natik’s youthful visionaries and leaders have conceived and executed.

Learning & Adventure: contact@natik.org

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

La Puerta Abierta

La Puerta Abierta Library is a lively, interactive learning center that generates excitement around education in a region where poverty and illiteracy make books a rare commodity. The library is home to a preschool, kindergarten, first through third grades, a teen reading program, early stimulation classes for mothers and infants, and on Sundays, provides a place for the scholarship students to meet. In February, volunteers transformed the roof into a beautiful space with a view of the lake!

As part of La Puerta Abierta’s continuing contribution to the local community, every week the Traveling Library takes the joy of reading and creative learning to hundreds of children in eight rural schools near Santiago. This year, La Puerta Abierta expanded its influence through training sessions with educators around Lake Atitlán, and with the Yo’onik tteam in Zinacatán.

  • $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

Yo’onik Learning Center

The Yo’onik Learning Center has grown from a borrowed storage hut into a vibrant new building, thanks to Natik’s many friends and partners. Mentored by Puerta Abierta, it has a growing library of books and educational games. The remedial education program run by Yo’onik scholarship students has expanded to include an after-kinder-care program for local children whose mothers work. Generous donations permitted the creation of a terraced demonstration garden behind the center, completion of the kitchen, and a projector that is used for training sessions and thematic family movie nights. As Yo’onik continues to expand, it is increasingly important that the second floor be completed.

  • $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)

Many of MSV’s customers are hotels and department stores in Mexico, and Natik is helping develop their international marketing and sales capacity in the United States. Mujeres Sembrando la Vida’s one-of-a-kind products are available online at www.etsy.com/shop/NatikEsperanzaWhen Magdalena founded Mujeres Sembrando la Vida in 2000, she barely spoke Spanish, and her oldest daughter was seventeen. When her two daughters graduated from the university, she turned the cooperative over to them, and returned to her first love, which is weaving. The goal of MSV is to help the artisans continue using their traditional textile techniques to create products that can compete in regional, national and global markets, while staying in their community. Their name, “Women Sowing Life” reflects their conviction that in addition to providing a fair income for its members, the cooperative should contribute to the well-being of the entire community through actions such as reforestation, organic agriculture, and the construction of low-smoke stoves, dry latrines, and rainwater capturing systems. The increasing complexity of commercial orders will require specialized sewing machines, and their dream is to complete the second floor of the Yo’onik Learning Center to house a workshop for their textile products.

Service Learning Trips

Natik was initially founded by university students with a sense of global responsibility. That spirit continues through our academic service learning group trips and individual internships, which both provide concrete ways to contribute to our partners’ work and to learn about their social, economic, and cultural contexts. Email contact@natik.org to register.