Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Honoring the Past for a Peaceful Future

Project #
International House New York
  • Eliza Ramos

Honoring the Past for a Peaceful Future

In the 15 years since the end of the Guatemalan civil war, progress has been made toward reconciliation and harmony. But for many indigenous families living in the Huehuetenango region, pain and anger linger as the remains of their loved ones are unidentified in mass graves. Eliza Ramos devoted her summer and her Projects for Peace grant to try to help these families find closure, and to teach their children about the war and its causes in order to promote future harmony.

Eliza worked with the Red Cross and other local agencies to ensure professional forensic work and to provide proper death certificates for 50 victims of the war from five Mayan communities. The bodies were exhumed and given dignified burials and formal memorial services, bringing closure and comfort to families, friends, and the community.

The second part of Eliza’s project was the development of a youth history curriculum designed for schoolchildren to learn about the civil war through story, theater, and music. Fifteen classrooms in five local schools took part in the workshops, and materials were given to the schools to continue to teach the past in order to promote peace in the future.