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FSSH Hosts Discussion on Indigenous Maya Health and Youth in Guatemala

A health-care system crisis has left Indigenous peoples in Guatemala without the care, resources and medication necessary to combat the high mortality rates among Maya K’iche’ women and children. Indigenous women are twice as likely to die during childbirth as non-Indigenous women, and children under the age of one are two-thirds more likely to die than non-Indigenous children.

Horizons of Friendship, a charitable international development organization in Cobourg, Ontario, is committed to ending these types of injustices in Central America and Mexico. With funding from the Government of Canada, Horizons’ Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH): Reducing Gaps for Indigenous Peoples in Totonicapán, Guatemala project aims to help reduce the maternal, newborn and child mortality rates among Maya K’iche’ peoples in Totonicapán.

On October 29, Horizons of Friendship and the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities' (FSSH) Experiential Learning office co-hosted an event entitled Chosen Paths: Indigenous Maya Health and Youth in Guatemala. The event featured a panel discussion between a group of visiting Maya K’iche youth, a traditional midwife and a representative of the Totonicapán Health Directorate, who spoke about their mission to save lives in their communities.

"I was truly humbled by their stories of courage and resilience," says Dan Walters, Practicum Co-ordinator, FSSH. "The robust question-and-answer period, alone, demonstrated the immense value of this discussion. I am eternally indebted to the panelists for inspiring our students to make an impact on the world, as it is and as it will be. Without a doubt, this was one of my all-time favourite moments at Ontario Tech University". 

To learn more about FSSH's partnership with Horizons of Friendship, check out the International Practicum page.