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What is it?
In 2003 the Foundation opened a middle school (grades 7, 8, and 9) called the New Hope Community Bilingual Institute, ICB-Nueva Esperanza, that offers bilingual (Achi-Spanish) and popular education, with an emphasis on human rights. It's located in the small community of Correlebaj, about four kilometres away from Rabinal's central square. We now have a group of dedicated teachers and more than 150 students who have their classes in buildings set around our soccer field.
All the students who attend the school come from families lacking in economic resources and many are children or grandchildren of survivors of Guatemala's civil war. All of them receive scholarships from the Foundation to pay for their school fees.
Currently, we are following a curriculum and pedagogical approach that comes from Colombia called the Tutorial Learning System (SAT). It was specifically designed with a rural setting in mind, and thus is suitable for our students, all of whom live in rural areas. The goal is to ensure that the students return to their communities to work instead of emigrating to urban areas as commonly happens.
We're also in the process of developing our own curriculum and pedagogical approach called the Methodological Recreation of Bilingual Intercultural Education (REM-EBI). Using SAT as a base, we aim to focus on our own surroundings, taking into account the local history of the Maya Achi as well as the true story of both the Spanish conquest and the more recent armed conflict. We are also including ideas and perspectives that come from the Mayan worldview and spirituality, both of which, to this day, have a strong influence on Rabinal's daily life and culture.