Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala (OSSGUA) Winter Term Delegation

by Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala

Impact Area: Education, Society, Other

Campus Area: Student Life, Other

Funding for this Project ended on 2016-12-10


Raised out of $7,680




Days Remaining

How will your project impact Oberlin?

To understand how our project impacts Oberlin, it is first necessary to understand why the trip is so deeply impactful to those who go on it.

Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala leads a trip to an indigenous Mayan, returned refugee community in Guatemala called Copal Aa La Esperanza. We learn about the genocide of indigenous Mayans from 1960 to 1996, and how the people of Copal Aa returned to Guatemala and founded their community. We learn about the oppression they still face today and how they fight for environmental rights, women’s rights, education, and justice for perpetrators of the genocide. This trip is educational so that we can return to the United States and fight the ways our government is directly or indirectly committing human rights violations against indigenous Mayan Guatemalans.

This Winter Term educational experience provides an introduction to the history and current struggles facing indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. In total the trip will span from January 7-22. For the first week, we will stay in Guatemala City and meet with human rights organizations such as NISGUA and the Guatemala Human Rights Commission.

For the second week, we will visit one community in the highlands of the country called Copal Aa La Esperanza. Students will learn the history of US involvement in Guatemalan history, including the internal armed conflict that led thousands of indigenous Guatemalans to seek refuge in Mexico for the duration of the conflict. We will learn the history of how Copal Aa returned to Guatemala and founded their community based on principles of education, sustainability, and collectivity. We will have workshops and meetings with organizations in the community that will introduce us to their work—  including the boards of education for the different schools, natural healers and midwives, and the women’s organization. We will stay in homestays for this week, and then return to Guatemala city and fly home.

The goal of the trip is to explore what being in solidarity with Copal Aa could mean. As a student organization, we believe that it is not our job to visit Copal Aa with the pretense of helping—  building a house or volunteering. We visit to learn their history, the problems they are still facing, and how those problems have their roots in the United States. Then we raise awareness and organize back on campus to try to tackle those roots. We have been teaching an ExCo to prepare potential participants for the trip, including covering Guatemalan history, indigenous resistance to environmental degradation, and principles of solidarity. We plan to accept no more than 8 students onto the program, in addition to the two student leaders.

The purpose of the winter term trip is to prepare participants for solidarity work on our return to campus. The trip is an educational experience; the action occurs back on our home turf. Our work on campus revolves around raising awareness and tackling the roots of the economic and social problems of Mayan people. This usually takes the form of awareness raising, as that’s one of the biggest asks we typically receive from Copal Aa. We hold screenings of documentaries, teach a class on the history and politics of Guatemala, and organize with other groups on campus. We are a small but deeply committed group. The drive and passion our group members bring to our on-campus organizing is contingent on our personal investment in the communities to whom we owe so much gratitude for hosting us. Experiential learning brings an urgency to our work that helps us strive to bring awareness to our broader community.

$ 100

Peter J Harries

$ 50


$ 200


$ 100

Brian DeGolier

Have fun Anna D. Brian and Laura

$ 100


Go Leo!

$ 100

Susan Avery

I hope you have a wonderful trip!

$ 250

Roman Schumann

$ 500

Karsten Harries4264

Merry Christmas

$ 100

Dorothy M Grandbois

This is for a payment for Ann DeGolier to go on this trip. Please let her know I contributed. Dorothy and Alan Grandbois

$ 75

Michelle Smither

$ 100

Clark K Price

$ 20

Amy Haslett-Marroquin

$ 20

Mary Jo Cristofaro

$ 20

Michelle Martin

Best of luck!

$ 100

Daniel B DeGolier

Great work team, I can't wait to hear about it!

$ 100

Baiba A Kelley

You are doing such important work. Significant and far reaching in so many ways. Good luck! Baiba Kelley

$ 40

John Warshawer

$ 100

Adam Keehn

Keep up the good fight! With love from us all.

$ 100

Steve Combellick

Great Project,Juna

$ 50

Joan Combellick

Looking forward to hearing all. Great plan. love, mom and dad

$ 50

Benjamin Keehn

You go Juna!

$ 50

Deborah Keehn

Go Juna! A great cause... Water Justice!

$ 25

Anthony J Nelson

Saludos y abrazos, compas!

$ 3,500

Susan L Phillips

All the best for a successful fundraiser!

$ 100

Geertruida R. Oberman

$ 25

Laura K Stump

En solidaridad!

$ 50

Anne Kamosso

This is the kind of stuff that Oberlin so great!

$ 50

Albert Chu

$ 100

Elizabeth Kingsley

$ 50

lis cox

Thinking of all vulnerable people now.

$ 20

Claire Cook