Empowering repatriated youth through education and civic engagement

July 1, 2015

On June 12th, 36 Guatemalan youth came together to learn how they can—and why they should—work to improve Guatemalan government and society. El Colectivo Vida Digna, KIND’s implementing partner for the Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project, coordinated this full day workshop for repatriated migrant children and other youth from their communities.

An expert in Guatemala’s political system led the workshop. Youth learned about Guatemala’s social, economic, and political structures. They analyzed Guatemala’s political parties, discussed the importance of voting, and brainstormed how to participate in Guatemala’s democratic system.

The political system is currently a hot topic in Guatemala both because this is an election year, and because of a recent tax scandal in Guatemala that has led Guatemalans from all different backgrounds to demand the president’s resignation. Colectivo Vida Digna chose the workshop topic in order to raise the consciousness of repatriated youth and other youth in their communities about the current political situation in Guatemala, and their political rights as indigenous youth.

There was such great interest in the topic that some adult family members of the youth also participated in the workshop. The event was the first in a series of workshops that Colectivo Vida Digna will offer to repatriated youth and their families regarding the rights and role of Indigenous peoples in Guatemala’s social, economic, and political systems.

Most repatriated Guatemalan youth come from remote villages far from the capital. They do not feel connected to government or political systems. Participants learned how Guatemalan government works and how they and their families can influence government and engage in broader Guatemalan society.

Below are some pictures from the days’ events.