Indigenous Maya women share perspectives on gender-based violence

By Cecilia Nasmith

Three local agencies invite you to a free Nov. 20 lunch-and-learn session whose guest speakers will be two Indigenos Maya K'iche women from Guatemala sharing their perspectives on gender-based violence.

Horizons of Friendship, the Cobourg Police Service and Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre are hosting the event, a follow-up to their recent exchange visit to Guatemala to work with the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education. This multi-million-dollar project funded by the Government of Canada is aimed at reducing maternal and child deaths, but also includes initiatives to help end violence against women in close collaboration with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health.

Guatemala has one of the highest rates of femicide in Latin America, and visitors Irma Ixcayau and Mirna Pretzantzin will offer their perspectives on addressing this issue. Ixcayau is a traditional Indigenous Maya midwife (known as a comadrona) and Pretzantzin is a health educator and traditional community leader.

Representatives from the three local agencies will also discuss their experiences on the September exchange visit,

“We are proud to continue helping strengthen the understanding and co-operation between North and South on ending violence against women, and this event is a great opportunity for the community to learn about that collaboration,” Horizons executive director Patricia Rebolledo said in the press release.

Cornerstone executive director Nancy Johnston said her agency felt privileged to participate in the knowledge-exchange project.

“We are excited to be able to offer an opportunity for the community to hear more about our exchange, and to learn firsthand from two visiting Maya K'iche women – an event not to be missed,” Johnston added.

The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m at Victoria Hall (55 King St. W., Cobourg). The Cobourg Police Service is sponsoring lunch, with dessert sponsored by the County of Northumberland.