In honor of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (August 9) and International Youth Day (August 12), we are spotlighting two of our partners working on these important issues. Tierra Nativa provides accompaniment, legal and technical advice to indigenous pueblos
and mixed communities threatened by mining, land conflicts, industrial tourism, and ranching interests tied to clandestine activities. They advise indigenous groups via their traditional leaders with respect to their traditions of autonomous decision-making and government, respecting the fundamental rights of indigenous groups.
Over the last two years, Vista Hermosa Foundation provided Tierra Nativa funding to start and maintain a Rarámuri or Tarahumara cultural education program for primary school students in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. It is called Busuréliame or ‘Awakening the Inner Self’ and serves 60 students from 5 communities near the famous Copper Canyon. Busuréliame is the Tarahumara concept for learning, and describes perfectly the principal goal of the program: to awaken Tarahumara children to their inner self through traditional cultural practice and knowledge in order to strengthen cultural resilience, create greater harmony with self, nature, family, and community, and to empower children to step confidently in both worlds, the Tarahumara traditional culture and the western world with all of its opportunities and pitfalls. The Vista Hermosa Foundation board recently approved additional funding to expand the program and build capacity to construct a permanent educational and cultural center.
Breakthrough, an organization working on violence and discrimination against women and girls for over 19 years, today reaches over 400,000 adolescents across 5 Indian states through an Adolescent Empowerment Programme (AEP). The program is designed to shape gender attitudes and behaviors at a stage when views are still malleable, and more progressive, gender equitable thinking can be instilled. They believe that improving gender equality will ensure the realization of education and health rights for some of the most vulnerable adolescent girls in India. They work with girls and boys from the ages of 11 to 18 years across Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi and Jharkhand, states with some of the worst gender indicators in the country. The program aims to ensure rights and agency for adolescents, helping them demand equity in health, education and skills in their homes and community, for themselves and for others. They aim to reach a million adolescents by 2022-23.
India has the largest population of adolescents in the world with 120 million girls and 133 million boys aged 10-19 years, which is about 21% of world’s adolescent population of 1.2 billion. Adolescents constitute about one-fifth of India’s population and young people aged 10–24 years about one-third of the population. This large cohort of adolescents represents a great demographic dividend and to realize this potential to the fullest, young people must be healthy, educated and equipped with knowledge, information, skills and confidence that would enable them to contribute to their communities and the country’s socio-economic growth.