Training and Inclusion of Mayans with Hearing Disabilities in Guatemala as Software Programmers

Vocational Training of deaf Mayans to be Software Programmers - Preparation Meeting in Quetzaltenango
Project Duration:

February 2021 –
April 2024

Target Group:

Deaf Mayans from Guatemala

Planned Budget:

60.000 €


Die Norddeutsche Stiftung für Umwelt Entwicklung (NUE) and Schmitz Stiftungen 

Local Partner Organisation:
Todos Somos Uno


Objectives and Activities

  • Vocational training of 20 Mayans with hearing disabilities to become software programmers, graphic designers and IT-trainers.

  • Development and marketing of the application “Travel-Guatemala” by the Mayans with hearing disabilities, which allows tourists to easily travel through Guatemala.

  • Empowerment and professional inclusion of Mayans with hearing disabilities into the labor market.

  • Establishing an inclusive software vocational training center and social enterprise with Mayans with hearing disabilities in Guatemala.

  • Raising awareness about the Mayans with hearing disabilities community and opportunities for innovative vocational trainings and professional inclusion.

Our Project

In Guatemala, there live more than 175,000 Mayans with hearing disabilities. Most of them struggle against a three-fold discrimination because being disabled, poor, and Mayans. The majority therefore are marginalized, undervalued, and under educated.

As there are only 10 schools for the Mayans with hearing disabilities in whole Guatemala and no special provisions for children with hearing disabilities in public schools, less than 10% of them receive formal education. Moreover, the education they do receive renders ineffective due to the lack of interpreters and special education personnel. The absence of education opportunities has limited the potential of many Mayans with hearing disabilities and leaves most of them in a state of unemployed or underemployed dependency in very low paid jobs.

Together with our local partner organisation Todos Somos Uno (TSU), we overcome the vicious cycle described by building up a national vocational training center that provides a software programming training to the Mayan community with hearing disabilities in Guatemala.

After initially conducting a market analysis and successful pilot training with Mayans with hearing disabilities from 2019 to 2020, the necessary funding was obtained. In early 2021, TSU conducted the first year of the vocational training of Mayans with hearing disabilities to become software programmers. Based on the German dual vocational training system, the students are taught online and with presence sessions in theoretical and practical phases in software programming languages as well as in personal and social skills by certified IT-experts and special education workers.

The vocational training is a part-time formation providing the students with key qualifications in all areas of software programming within 600 hours of teaching lessons per year. The National Experimental Institute “Gabriel Ariola Porres” (INEGAP) and the University of Mesoamericana (UMA) provide rooms and the necessary equipment.

The students are learning first the basics of software programming and graphic design. Afterwards, they deepen the practical knowledge on e.g. Java, Kotlin, HTML5, CSS3, etc. Moreover, all students will be trained in social and personal skills and some as trainers to train students. Theoretical as well as practical examinations on each topic are held every three months and practical projects with organisations and  companies are carried out regularly.

After successfully completing the vocational training, successful students will teach others Mayans with hearing disabilities in software programming. Moreover, they will earn their living by carrying out paid software projects in a team with experienced IT-experts. In the long term, the students will become role models for peers and benefit their families and the Mayan community with hearing disabilities in Guatemala.

Yes, I want to support the Mayan community with hearing disabilities and the vocational training in Guatemala