- Ministry of Education photo -

Published on Tuesday, September 7, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government will research the lack of Spanish language by indigenous women living in 24  territories such as Bribri, Cabécar, Kekoldi, Bajo Chirripó, Alto Chirripó, Nairy Awari, Tainy, Térraba and China Kichá, among others.

The goal of the study is to reduce the education gap in the population and determine how they can better support indigenous women, according to the Ministry of Education. They are collaborating with the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other public institutions.

"Rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant women play a key role in the economic reactivation of their territories and food security," Andrea Padilla, FAO representative in Costa Rica said.  "Therefore, we must continue working together to close the gaps of gender in rural communities, respecting their culture and identity.”

According to Justa Romero-Morales, indigenous leader and president of the Bribrí y Cabécares Indigenous Women's Association, learning to read and write Spanish is an important tool because "men spoke for women, when the women worked men received the money.  Learning ( Spanish) women will be more strong, courageous, and not afraid to lead their work."

The plan to analyze the language in these territories arose out of concern about the low participation of women in decision-making in the communities, partially as a result of the fact that many cannot read or write in Spanish, the ministry said in its statement.

Most speak their indigenous language, but lacking knowledge of the Spanish language, they cannot read documents or carry out paperwork in Spanish-language public institutions.

The study will be carried out between Sept. 13 and 30 in the 24 indigenous territories by specialists from the ministry. Results are expected to be completed later this year.

In addition, the Ministry of Economy will be developing financial education training for the indigenous population in their native language.

According to the ministry, the first training will seek to guide 60 indigenous women from the cantons of Buenos Aires in Puntarenas Province and Pérez Zeledón in San José Province.

Among the topics to be studied are management of expenses and costs, prices and inventories. The goal teaches them to apply financial knowledge in their commercial activities such as tourism, art, livestock, beekeeping, among others.

What could the government do to help indigenous people? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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