UVI students have qualities we consider irreplaceable; they possess cultural and linguistic codes that make them able to decode and recode symbols of their own context, discovering through their cultural immersion, communicative and social organization practices, reflected in their logbooks and field work diaries that contrast with the bibliographical resources they use for their research.
Furthermore, their cognitive and communicative abilities increase substantially, retaking and adapting tools from Universidad Veracruzana’s Basic General Formation Area (AFBG in Spanish) to the UVI Program. These tools accompany their learning processes throughout their degree in an area of shared, transversal learning with their discipline, through extra evening and inter-semester courses and the development of communicative skills in all of the Educational Experiences and courses in both English and their native (indigenous) languages.
Another important point is that, from the very first semester, LGID students spend 40% of their time in field work. They learn how to research by researching. They learn how to do something by doing it, which contributes to their training process. They carry out interviews even if they do not conceptually know what an interview is; later, with the support of teachers and bibliographical resources, they learn what an interview is, both in theory and in practice. Thus, from the onset, students start researching to gather information to discuss in the classroom, in order to recognize socio-cultural issues, making a diagnosis, a set of social needs, a list of activities, organizations and social actors involved in community development, and this reality is related to topics analyzed in each Educational Experience.
The students freely choose a topic for their research work endeavoring to choose a topic that is relevant and meaningful to their community’s issues and needs. Having an emotional and cultural link is important to them. For some research topics, students address an issue of relevance to their families, which allows them to reflect on their daily living, linking the generation of knowledge with its actual application in context.
The acceptance of the UVI in regions of the state of Veracruz as a viable educational option for youth and for possible regional projects and solutions has been constructed through the preparation of the students, who carry out and present their research works in several community spaces. UVI students are starting to be seen as managers, inheritors of knowledge, systemizing heritage and re-creating their traditions. On achieving this perception, the students work is considered culturally valuable on a community level with results that are viable to contribute to regional development. Now UVI is seen not only as a new educational option that did not exist in these regions, but also as a novel model of professional training.
Project name: Bitter Sweet: Diabetes mellitus in Zacamilola, Atlahuilco, Veracruz.
Center: Grandes Montañas
Student: Eugenia Ixmatlahua Tlaxcala
Health problems in the indigenous Nahua community of Zacamilola in the municipality of Atlahuilco, Veracruz are currently common. In recent years obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and cardio problems are caused by changed eating habits and ways of life, hereditary and emotional factors, among others.
Research on diabetes mellitus does not consider local cosmos-vision on health – illness – treatment (intercultural and gender focus). For this reason a community process commenced in 2010, which includes management and diagnosis strategies (psychological, biological and spiritual, as well as therapeutic resources and practices), promotion, prevention and treatment for diabetes with an intercultural focus, with the participation of general practitioners and local traditional medicine healers.
Medical Personnel at Zacamilola Health Center
Panoramic view of the community
Interviews in Nahuatl language with families of patients
Electro-cardiograms on diabetic women
Patient with diabetic foot
Eldery man with diabetes
Project name: Management, use and conservation of water, land and forest in the community of Cintlapalco, Tlaquilpa, Veracruz
Center: Grandes Montañas
Students: Malaquías Sánchez Rosales & Víctor Villa Sandoval
It commenced in 2009, with the objective of creating a pilot sustainable small farm that would include:
- Trout raising,
- Ornamental plants cultivation
- Landscaped terracing with natural barriers,
- Seed bank for reforestation, and
- Reconversion of agricultural practices to traditional, organic farming.
The students worked on the project, together with a local family from the community of Cintlapalco, in the municipality of Tlaquilpa in the Zongolica mountain range in Veracruz. Two years on, the community engagement work has accomplished its goals. The results include visibly improved landscape and improved life-style of the family.
|Trout||Water storage||Hidro infraestructure|
|Reproduction tank||Curved landscape||Curved landscape|
Project name: Tradtional Festival for Tourism “La corrida de Judas” in Coatzintla Veracruz”;
Students: Laura Eloina Eslava Osorio & Adaneli Martínez De Luna
In recent times, this traditional dance has been marginalized due to industrialization processes, influx of new inhabitants and out-migration of natives to the region. Through interviews and engaging the support of local authorities, the students gave a traditional festival a new lease of life, where the dance is now again an important part of ethnic identity and a touristic attraction in Coatzintla. The objective to commence processes of community development was fulfilled.
Project name: Preservation of traditional medicine in a greenhouse constructed in the UVI Selvas.
Students: Marvey Ramírez Juárez, Idalia Cruz Amaro, Verónica González Gómez, Emma Edith Rodríguez Pascual
A medicinal plants garden was created by the students at UVI Selvas and the plants are available for the community. The project sought to revitalize traditional medicine in the region and promote an educational space for the identification of medicinal plants, their properties and different ways of making remedies with the plants: teas, tinctures, soap, ointments, micro-dosis, etc., improving community health and generating exchange of knowledge with community traditional healers.
The project contributes to medicinal plant conservation, use and promotion in various communities in the south of the state of Veracruz, ethno-botanical research and education.
Project: Using Native Languages for Public Affairs
Discipline: Rights and Languages
Students: Ivón Luis Ruiz, Iveth Luis Ruiz & Cristell A. López González.
In the municipality of Tatahuicapan de Juárez, Veracruz, where the traditional Nahua language is disappearing among youth, this project seeks to promote use with the support community elders. Strategies to encourage local Nahua speakers to defend their rights in their own language in public affairs included the introduction of interpreters in local public affairs. The research aims to serve further research on this constitutional right.
Project: Intercultural and Bilingüal Education Management experiences in a local primary school in Atempa, Soledad Atzompa, Veracruz
Center: Grandes Montañas
Students: Antonio Diderot Moreno Herrera & Ana Gabriela Tlaxcala Juárez
The Project seeks to support the creation of intercultural, bilingual education for their community with faculty and local education sector staff to improve the poor academic outcomes at the local school.