The youth situation and conflict in Yucatan, Mexico
By: Karyn J. Perez G.
July 3rd., 2017
Located in southern Mexico, Yucatan is one of the 31 states of this country. The 3 states that conform the Yucatan Peninsula, Yucatan included, share not only an incredible Mayan heritage but also they share huge problems related to discrimination, racism, poverty and extreme social/wealth inequity. These problems affect the adult people, who are not able to get jobs or improve their way of life by their indigenous background, lack of ability to speak Spanish or lack of education in general. It also affect children that in some cases don’t have access to proper health services. And, finally, the described social problems also affect the very vulnerable group we are aiming to work with: the youth. Starting by their education, if they even get the chance to have one.
Indigenous and poverty in México and Yucatan
According to the Diario de Yucatan (local newspaper), “in Mexico, it is estimated that in 2014 the indigenous population was just over 11.9 million people” (2016). And, according to an article of the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (2004), the whole Yucatan Peninsula has more than 1,500,000 indigenous people. Specifically in Yucatan state, the estimation rounds over more than 980,000 natives (almost 60% of the total population in the state).
Coneval’s measurements show that “in 2014, 73.2% of the population in indigenous households were living in poverty and 21.8% were vulnerable due to social deprivation or income, and that only 5% were not poor and vulnerable” (2016).
Youth and education
in rural contexts of Mexico and Yucatan
Of the near to 12 million indigenous in the country, “almost 4 million are children and adolescents between the ages of 3 and 17. Among indigenous children and adolescents, over 1.8 million speak some indigenous language, of which more than 1.4 million live in rural localities” (2016).
According to the National Institute of Educational Evaluation and UNICEF, “nearly four million indigenous children and adolescents face deficiencies in infrastructure and teaching staff, which contributes to their finding a below-basic achievement level compared to public urban schools” (2016). In other words, the entire indigenous youth population have struggles in the education context.
Via Diario de Yucatan
Projects and solutions
So, as we can see, not only are we talking about a lot of people, but we are also talking about a big disadvantage in which they are since they are children. Even though some of them may not seem very stress about it, their economic and development situation is not ideal.
Social programs and/or schools, as we saw in the previous section, usually have poor conditions and infrastructure. And this if they exist. As we also saw and can now conclude, efforts to educate the entire population of indigenous children and youth are not enough. There are 4 million of soon-to-be adults starting the “race” without the right tools.
This is one of the many reasons why we are motivated to work with this vulnerable group: Yucatan’s poor and indigenous youth. Throughout the world, conditions of poverty often harm and limit children and young people who still have a long life ahead. Yucatan, Mexico, is no exception, with an indigenous population whose 73% is poor and almost 22% live in a vulnerable situation.
We want to give an opportunity, we want to empower and give them a tool of expression for their ideas: what is welfare? What problems are there around me? How could you solve them if money were not a limitation? We started in Haiti and now we are here in Yucatan, contributing and teaching them filmmaking so Yucatecan youth can have a voice.
Click here to know more about us and the project,
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Via Through My Eyes Foundation Facebook Page