To enhance socio-economic development of San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala by creating greater access to education and community development programs, that promote creativity, diversity of thought and resource sharing while honoring local culture.



The Ixtatán Foundation envisions San Mateo Ixtatán as a thriving Chuj Maya community where everyone has access to quality education, gainful employment and health care


The population of the San Mateo Ixtatán area of Guatemala is about 98% indigenous Mayans and has until recently been fairly isolated and self-sufficient. This started to change at the turn of this century as young men began to migrate to the United States in search of work, education and better opportunities. This change had a profound effect upon the culture, economy and look of the town. Money has begun to come in, but the scarcity of young men in the town has created more of a dependency on cash. Thus what was a self-sufficient economy has become a cash-driven economy driven almost completely reliant upon these remittances. These days, a young man has almost no choice but to spend at least some years in the United States so that his family can get by. Little is produced in San Mateo so all of the money that comes in quickly gets spent on items produced elsewhere and effectively leaves the town. All building materials are currently imported as is much of the food. Even though most vegetables can be grown and animals can be raised, to date they are not. The economy as it is today is not sustainable, and in order for the town to survive, let alone thrive, it must adjust.

Hand in hand with the economic challenges is an insufficient infrastructure specifically in the areas of waste treatment, potable water and solid waste management and, most importantly, an illiteracy rate among the local 64,000 population of 45.79%1.

The goal of the Ixtatán Foundation is to help the people of San Mateo find the tools to create for themselves solutions to the myriad of problems, from access to clean water to the principals of farming and computer technology. The focus area of the Ixtatán Foundation is the Seeds of Wisdom School. This school has an academic focus that includes giving students real-life problems to solve through Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning allows students to apply curriculum content into social projects, through which they learn, mathematics, chemistry, social studies, etc. We believe in the power and ability of students and youth to foster positive change in their own community.


1 Area de Estadistica de la Unidad Informatica CONALFA 2012