Who we are

Our Maya Project

Contact us!!




Who we are

Circus presentation

The Maya Project started in 2007 as a project of the cultural association Arte Acción Copán Ruinas. This association doesn’t exist anymore, but the project continues!!!
Elsa Morales and Marlen Vásquez teach children at rural schools about Maya culture, while Londin Velásquez is in charge of the archaeological project for you adults at the middle school of the village of San Rafael.

Arte Acción Copán Ruinas was an organization that brought a bit of fun and laughter to the children in Honduras. In Copán Ruinas we do that through art workshops, games and sport. If you want to know more about our projects, click here. If you want to know what our friends in Tegucigalpa do, click here!
Art workshop

Why teaching art to people so poor?

Mask making in Choncó
A lot of children in the rural area of Honduras have nothing but the clothes they wear. No toys, no shoes, not even their own bed to sleep in. Sometimes they have a low self-esteem. They think that because they're poor, or because they can't write very well, they're not as smart as other children. Sometimes children don't finish elementary school and have for that reason little confidence in themselves. But in the arts that doesn't matter! Every child can make a beautiful drawing or sing a song! You don't need to be rich or educated to be able to enjoy the arts, And while children draw, play, sing or act, their self-esteem and confidence grow little by little.
Florsemila from La Pintada during a workshop in the park
At the same time, children learn to see the world with different eyes. The leaves of a tree are not just one shade of green. There are so many different shades and each leaf is different! Just like the children themselves: they're all just as worthy, but each child has its own special abilities.
Through the arts children learn that the world is not just black and white. The world is full of colours, just like life is full of opportunities, for everyone!

Our Maya project

In Copán Ruinas, The Maya Project teaches children in town, but also in the small villages in the area. That's where a lot of Maya Chortí children live. They are the descendents of the Mayas who left behind the fabulous ruins of Copán. But a lot of children are not even aware that they themselves are Mayas! That's why we started a Maya cultural program in these villages. Our instructors Marlen Vásquez and Elsa Morales visit once a month the schools in the villages to conduct an art workshop and talk about archaeology and conservation. Conservation of the Maya culture is very important, so these children's sons and daughters will also be able to enjoy Maya culture in the future.
A model of a Maya temple
Excursion to the ruins
We started our Maya Project in February of 2007 and we keep on going. Each child receives a copy of an activity book and for the smaller children there's a colouring book with a short text in Spanish and Maya Chortí. The text of this web-site is based on the text of the activity book.
Whenever we can we take children on excursion to the Archaeological Park so they can see the buildings and statues with their own eyes.
In February of 2009 we started a small archaeological project with a group of children from the village of La Pintada. The site the children are working at is a recently abandoned Maya house, but not an official archaeological site, of course. The children are learning how to clean a site, to excavate, to measure and map, top draw artifacts and how to take technical photos. Every little thing they find is labeled and stored in our "lab" (a big plastic container). The funniest piece of evidence found so far: a pair of ladies' underwear! The project now continues at the middle school in the village of San Rafael, and is conducted by our facilitator Londin Velásquez.
Archaeological project

How can YOU help?

"Maya" headdress
Because the Maya Project works with children who are mostly pretty poor, we never charge for our classes. All our activities are freely accessible. But the problem is that these activities do cost money! We have to pay for the supplies, the transportation to the villages and our instructors receive a salary. So somehow we have to find the money to pay for that all. We are lucky enough to have found an organization in the US that supports us. It's called MACHI / InHerit(Maya Area Cultural Heritage Initiative) and is directed by archaeologists who are very interested in the conservation of Maya culture. Not just ancient Maya culture, but also language, art and traditions of today's Mayas! MACHI also support projects in Belize, Mexico and Guatemala. Of course we are very happy that MACH sponsors our Maya Project. But we can always use more money!
And you can help! What do you do by the end of the school year with your left over art supplies? Into the trash can? Why not sending them to Honduras! If you don't have a lot to give away, why don' t you consider organizing an event at school to raise money fot the Maya project and the children in Copán? What about a cultural event about Maya culture? You'll find a lot of information on this web-site that can be helpful. Think about it! Every bit of support, no matter how small, is very welcome!
Mural in San Rafael

Contact us!

Logo Proyecto Maya

If you want to learn more about the Maya Project visit our web-site or send us an email.

Proyecto Maya
Avenida Sesesmil, Barrio El Centro
Copán Ruinas, Copán

Honduras, C. A.
Facebook: Maya Copán



Most of the text and illustrations on this web-site appear in the book La Cultura Maya en Copán, written and illustrated by Carin Steen and financed by MACHI. The photos are by Lise Winters and Carin Steen except the ones of the archaeologists that were found on the Internet without credits.
We'd like to thank MACHI for making our Maya Project a reality; Argi Diez for editing the Spanish text, Christine Hughes and Ilke Schaart for the translation into English; Nina du Mée for the Dutch translation; Ronald Reinds for technical support; Londin, Elsa and Moisés for being such fabulous instructors of the Maya Project and of course the children of Copán Ruinas who always participate with such enthusiasm in our activities!
Web-design: Carin Steen
Kids from La Pintada