New Projects in 2007:

Proyecto de Capacitación en Salud Mental Comunitaria y Acompañamiento Psicosocial, San Cristobal de las Casas,Chiapas, México.

Chiapas is a state mostly populated by indigenous communities who are extremely marginalized. The conditions of poverty and marginalization led to the formation of the indigenous political group, EZLN in 1994 and other autonomous, community-based organizations supported by the Zapatistas. Rather than responding to the demands of these indigenous groups the Mexican government is waging low intensity warfare through paramilitary groups. With the grant received from the Martín-Baró Fund, the Proyecto plans to continue a project to train indigenous, community-based mental health promoters in community mental health, psychosocial support and accompaniment, and detecting and addressing human rights violations. The training workshops focus on: recognizing low-intensity warfare, engaging in crisis intervention, gaining tools to facilitate mutual support groups, evaluating the mental health needs of community members, and addressing alcoholism and domestic violence.

Asociación Centro de Educación y Formación Maya Ixil, San Gaspar de Chajul, Guatemala.

The Martín-Baró Fund renewed its grant to the Center for Mayan Ixil Education and Development, which works with youth and women in Chajul and its surrounding rural villages, an area profoundly affected by more than thirty-six years of civil war and poverty. This year's grant to ACEFOMI will serve to reinforce the work that the women have done in the community. They will hold multiple workshops in each of five identified indigenous communities. The workshops will address mental health and human rights issues, analyze the problems that led to the armed conflict and its psychological effects on the community members, and focus on how to minimize negative risks affecting youth and women.

Center for Immigrant Families, New York, NY, United States.

The CIF is a popular education-based community organizing, education, and training center addressing the interconnected challenges facing low-income immigrant women of color. MBF funds will continue to support the Escuela Popular de Mujeres (Women's Popular Education Program) which has helped women break the silence and begin to combat workplace abuses, domestic violence, and other human rights violations. Its English Literacy Project, is a free, 9-week program, with free childcare, that attempts to respond to women's expressed needs for English language skills while also empowering them through a popular education approach, and building leadership skills among participants. Women emerge from these sessions more united and with enhanced self-confidence in their self-expression and ability to take action in the face of challenges. The 2008 grant will help CIF strengthen its internal structure and enhance its capacity to sustain its programs while meeting its organizational goals and objectives.

Centro Bartolomé de las Casas, San Salvador, El Salvador.

The CBC works with local communities on economic, social, psychosocial, and spiritual development. In 2007 they inaugurated the Museo de la Memoria (Museum of the Memory), based on the booklet "Cuarenta Días con la Memoria: Memoria Sobreviviente de Arcatao" (Forty Days with the Memory: Survival Memory of Arcatao) and other testimonial materials. They also accompanied communities in the northeast region during exhumations. Organizers reported being particularly gratified by the extensive youth participation in these inter-generational projects. With its 2008 grant, CBC will continue this work with survivors in the communities of Arcatao and Nueva Trinidad, in collaboration with a forensic anthropological team from Guatemala. It will also continue to provide psychosocial support to relatives and survivors of the exhumations, and plans to extend its work in new directions, creating actions at the local, municipal, and national levels demonstrating its work with survivors to justice authorities, landowners, and other committees.

Children's Rehabilitation Center, Quezon City, Philippines.

The CRC is one of the few organizations in the Philippines devoted to the care of child victims of human rights violations. There have recently been troubling reports of the arrest and detention of so-called child soldiers. However, investigation reveals that in some cases children have simply been rounded up from communities associated with the New People's Army (considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.) rather than being captured while engaged in combat. The children's detention is intended to force the surrender of parents accused of involvement with revolutionary groups. This year's grant will enable the CRC to conduct fact-finding missions, visit children jailed for alleged political offenses, provide immediate medical and psycho-social support where needed, and prepare for "Children for Peace: Joining Hearts and Hands," a peace festival for children to share their experiences and advocate publicly on behalf of their common struggles.

Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haitians living in Port-au-Prince have experienced unprecedented violence and have been victim to massive violations of their rights. Women participating in the Commission of Women Victims for Victims' program have experienced the trauma of rape and many have also had husbands, partners, children or other family members brutally killed. With the grant offered by the Martín-Baró Fund, KOFAVIV offered psychosocial support activities to these women victims of violence. KOFAVIV has also provided training to community-based human rights workers. In the summer of 2007, KOFAVIV will also hold community Open Space sessions on the mental health impact of human rights violations on poor communities. These Open Space activities will focus on the impact of violence in individual communities and will serve as a space for the women to begin to reach beyond their peer groups and talk with others about how violence has affected women in particular.