In alignment with Tumul K'in Center of Learning's practice of following Maya values, Community outreach is not only embedded into the philosophies but are actively pursued and practiced.
With time comes changes and with changes comes the realization of the need to conserve and preserve either ones ideas or more importantly ones culture and traditional practices. As our ancestors have seemingly vanished, with the giant architecture left looming in it mysteries, it has been an ambition of leaders and elders since to never let the Maya culture and way of life disappear or loose its essence. Keeping this in mind, the inception and inauguration of Tumul K'in Center of Learning is a golden dream fulfillment of generations of leaders and trying.
Tumul K'in was officially inaugurated in January of 2002 but its history goes way back to 1997 when the Ukuxtal Masewal, The Maya Institute of Belize, gathered a group of its members to put their words and their minds together in an effort to harness the comparative advantages that the cultural and natural resources of Maya people offer for development and addressing the poverty crisis. The concept was supported by various Government Ministries including the Ministry of Education, which granted it a temporary school license, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, which granted a lease for 400 acres of land in the Cayo District for its establishment. In 2001 the Ministry of Agriculture committed the use of lands, dilapidated but useful infrastructure at the TRDP project site in Toledo and seed money. To move the project forward an alliance was formed between the Maya Institute of Belize, Toledo Maya Cultural Council, Q'eqchi' Council of Belize, Toledo Maya Women's Council, and the Toledo Alcalde Association. In January 2002, the Center was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Honorable Said Musa, and the doors were opened to 12 students.
Tumul K'in Center of Learning is a non-governmental Maya organization that promotes sustainable development with identity through intercultural education, training and research fusing modern and Maya values, knowledge and philosophy.
Philosophy and Core Values
Tumul Kin has come a long way in developing an intercultural program. We feel that the Maya values is our most unique and fundamental pillar/axis since it is a key ingredient that permeates and is evident in whatever Tumul Kin does. Maya values are based on a cosmic vision that speaks of the sacredness of humankind, nature and the cosmic, and the indissoluble relationship that exists between them. Within this cosmic vision everything has an important reason for being, a function and a protector, and hence the importance of harmony, respect and equilibrium in our actions and relationships.
Goals of Tumul K'in Center of Learning
- To enable rural young people to honor and make wise use of their cultural and natural resources in the pursuit of a sustainable development by providing them with technical skills and developing their character through an innovative Maya intercultural education.
- To research and develop practices in the areas of natural resource management, agriculture, and education based on the integration of Maya and modern knowledge and wisdom.
- To become an autonomous, self-sustainable institution through the sale of services and products and other income generating activities.
Programmatic Areas of Work
Tumul Kin, in an effort of constantly strieving for success and enhancement of the organizational strategic plan currently is offering the following programmatic areas of work:
- Residential Academic Programme (RAP)
- Outreach and Advocacy Programme (OAP)
- Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Programme (SANRMP)
- Economic Development for Financial Sustainability Programme (EDFSP)
- Institutional Governance and Management (IGM)
Tumul Kin has worked in partnership with institutions and organizations such as Ireland Aid, OMEGA Finland, Food and Agriculture Organization, Global Environment Facility, Protected Areas Conservation Trust, the Taiwanese Mission, Peace Corps, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, UNESCO and UNICEF among others. Tumul K'in is also a member of the Maya Leaders Alliance of Southern Belize (MLA), the Belize National Indigenous Council (BENIC) and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA).
Tumul K'in is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors, which is comprised of representatives of the Maya Leaders Alliance, Parents, Tumul K'in teachers, Community Leaders, Student Alcaldes, the Broader Education Community and the Business Community. The Board of Directors is complemented by a Parent Teacher Association consisting of parents from 7 different communities and 2 teachers.
Everything that Tumul K'in does both as an organization and as a community is governed by the Maya Values as the values encompasses and promotes respect for one self, community, nature and individuals.
The Tumul K'in Maya Values:
- Respect for mother nature- Tumul K'in will endeavor to ensure the greatest respect for nature in all its activities. Among other things it will promote the wise and sustainable use of natural resources and sustainable agriculture.
- Community Interdependence and Cooperation - Tumul K'in will be a community that recognizes the interdependent relationships that exists among all its members, will promote an ethic of care, cooperation, harmony, respect and equilibrium. It will be a community where each person's personhood is respected, and where each member recognizes the importance of fulfilling his/her role.
- Intercultural understanding and tolerance: Recognizing that everything and everyone has reason for being, has a role and a protector, recognizing the sacredness of humanity, nature and the universe, Tumul K'in will endeavor to create a plural society where diversity is respected and valued. Tumul K'in will promote practices that honor the Maya culture and identity, while at the same time promotes learning from and tolerance for other cultures.
- Organized work – Tumul Kin will promote organization.
- Truthfulness in our word – Honesty is a key Maya value. In Maya tradition there are no written contracts; the word of a person is enough insurance.
- Dialogue and Consensus - these are fundamental to the Maya way of doing things – at the very start of creation there was need for the creators to agree, to get together to join their words and their thoughts. Tumul Kin will endeavor to promote the greatest level of participation from the Maya community. It will encourage dialogue and consensus at all levels and especially in orienting its actions.
- Self Reliance – Maya communities have traditionally been self-reliant. Tumul Kin will endeavor to promote personal initiative and self-reliance. It will also strive to become a self-reliant institution.