About the Project

ICDO’s ‘Kalan Je La’an:
Following the Maya Voice’ - Phase I

Indigenous people make up less than 1% of the world’s population.

They live in some of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

The Yucatan Peninsula and other natural areas in Mexico are in danger, threatened by wildfires and plastic waste. There are more than 300,000 Maya in Yucatan, who have a symbiotic relationship with their surroundings and a great interest in preserving the biosphere of the region.

 

By preserving indigenous Maya heritage, our ecosystem and the Earth are protected.ICDO recognized the importance of giving the Maya people a voice and a platform to express themselves. After thorough research done by professionals and experts in the field, ICDO’s ‘Kalan Je La’an: Following the Maya Voice’ project was created.

‘Kalan Je La’an: Following the Maya Voice’ is a 4-year-long project, which kicked off in January 2020 in Yucatan and Quintana Roo. It aims to provide a platform where Maya heritage, values, traditions, language and culture can be broadcast locally, nationally, internationally and globally.

The ultimate goals of the #MayaVoice project are to change national and international public opinion, to encourage a change inside and outside indigenous Maya communities, to emphasize the importance of the inclusion of the Maya language in the Mexican education system, to empower women and youth, and to provide a platform where Maya people can broadcast their messages, needs, and concerns independently. ICDO raises awareness of the fact that the Maya have a lack of access to the Mexican health system and face discrimination and segregation by the rest of the Mexican population. Finally, one of ICDO’s goals is to create change in the policies affecting these communities.

As its name suggests, the ‘Kalan Je La’an: Following the Maya Voice’ project aims to amplify the voices of indigenous Maya communities who, despite facing various struggles, are greatly underrepresented in the public sphere.

Some of these struggles
include:

  • poverty
  • cultural misrepresentation
  • denial of basic human rights
  • threat of human dignity;
  • inequalities
  • limited access to health system, education, clean water, or strong institutions for protection

ICDO uses various tools to bring attention to these
underrepresented communities:

  • art exhibitions
  • art workshops
  • research
  • data collection
  • monitoring
  • implementation of sustainable strategies
  • implementation of education and communication platforms.
  • incorporating programs focused on environmental sustainability and the preservation of Maya culture, language and heritage.

During the first phase of the project in January 2020, ICDO sparked a dialogue on these issues through art workshops; events such as the Art Exhibition and the Gala Dinner; and a set of interviews with more than 60 Maya individuals from more than 20 different communities in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

ICDO explored different avenues for promoting Maya communities and their culture with 3 main goals in mind: to safeguard the Maya culture, language and traditions; to raise awareness of and empower the Maya people and communities; and to establish and implement sustainable strategies for the preservation of  biodiversity.

More than ever, it is crucial to listen to the
voices of the indigenous inhabitants of this area to create and implement
a sustainable development model.