La Escuela de la Montaña

un proyecto de la asociación Pa Le Qanil

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In June 2001, the school received new neighbours when 18 organised families founded the community, Fátima. Like Nuevo San José, Fátima relocated to the area after a bitter labour struggle on the finca where they had previously lived. After being forced to work 18-hour days for less than Q18 at times, a group of workers organised in 1996. The workers were fired and black-listed as labour organisers and instigators, denying them work in the region. During the legal proceedings, the owners deprived those who remained on the finca of water, firewood and closed the doors of the primary school to their children. After failing to break the union during 5 years of retaliations and unemployment through blacklists, the owners finally agreed to a settlement providing back wages and benefits to the workers. Some of the families in the union decided to settle in a community together and bought the land where they now live from the Catholic Church. That same year, they built houses with help from a housing program linked to the Church in Quetzaltenango. In 2007 community members managed to get water and electricity in their homes and build a primary school, and in 2008 they dug a drainage system – thanks to their hard work and fund-raising by former students.