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InnovativeCommunities.Org Foundation

Friends Building Global Community

Pop Atz'iaq

Pop Atz’iaq, translated from the Mayan Quiché language, means the Mayan Life Story expressed in weaving. In their logo, you can see:


• the backstrap loom weaving

• the symbolic tree of the Mayan culture with its roots in the communities.

• the contour of the serpent, symbol of the universe with its four cosmic directions.

• at the base of the figure, the kernels of corn as the staple food of the Maya; the grain symbolizes the consciousness of the spirituality of the past, present and future.

Pop Atz’iaq and the Salt Spring Island Support Group

Pop Atz’iaq Cultural and Artesanal Association is a Mayan K’iche organization that formed as an association by a number of highland weavers in Guatemala in 1988.  During a time of assassinations, arrests and torture, this group of artisans came together to create an alternative way of life for internally displaced families.  They began with the twin goals of providing work for their weavers and preserving the culture.  In the last 20 years, they have added programs in Reforestation, Women’s Advancement, and Education (Scholarships). Pop Atz’iaq is governed by an elected assembly and board of directors.  The 70 members and their families are almost all weavers.

Pop Atz’iaq carries out their programs in several Mayan K’iche villages in the highland region of Guatemala.

Through ICO, a group of Salt Spring Islanders came together to support Pop Atz’iaq in their education and women’s programs.  More information on these programs is listed below.

The Pop Atz'iaq Education Program is now being managed by PROGRESA, The Guatemalan Friends Scholarship and Loan Program, ( All donations made to the Pop Atz'iaq Education Program will be sent to PROGRESA, where the staff has kindly offered to take care of Pop Atz;iaq's remaining students, following the closure of the Pop Atz'iaq program due to administrative difficulties.  PROGRESA has almost 25 years of scholarship management, which guarantees that our students will have the finest of treatment and guidance.

This account is to be used for expenses that do not fall under the mandates of the other Pop Atz'iaq projects.  In some cases, they are expenses that the family of a scholarship student is faced with when that student can no longer contribute to the family income.  This could be classified as "living expenses for the family," which would mainly cover the cost of food.  In other cases, the expenses can involve scholarships for primary and pre-primary children whose circumstances would otherwise not allow them to attend school.  We have one child who is blossoming in primary school, spending

Indigenous non-profit Pop Atz’iaq needs help to fund their capacity building workshops promoting the self-organisation, participation and leadership of Mayan women to increase their roles as decision makers, in their own communities, and wider afield.

Pop Atz’iaq scholarships enable students to continue to higher levels of academic study, valuing traditional learning rooted in Mayan identity and culture.  Ultimately, these scholarships improve the economic conditions and human rights of the Mayan people.

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ICO Initiatives

September 17, 2014
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