Proyecto Itzaes – preventing diabetes through education in rural Yucatan

The mission of Proyecto Itzaes is to provide educational resources for children and families in villages in Yucatan, Mexico, where traditional farming and fishing no longer can support Indigenous communities. Vulnerable and resource-poor families, forced on to a diet of processed food imported into the region, have developed worrying levels of obesity – and related complications, including type 2 diabetes. Proyecto Itzaes is based on the premises that literacy can help to protect health, and the fundamental tools of literacy should be available to all. The goal is to build sustainable community service programmes that promote family-centred learning and respect Maya cultural heritage. In a changing world, according to project founder and author of this article, Cindy Wilbur, only through education can children find and exploit opportunities to realize their full potential.