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Meet our 2018 Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellows

We are excited to announce six Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellows. Youth are the future of Indigenous communities and strengthening youth leadership is essential in fostering the next generation of Indigenous leaders. Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Youth Community Media Fellowship Project, as part of the Community Media Grants Project, aims to support Indigenous Youth  from the ages of 14 to 25 in building capacity in media, journalism, radio production, advocacy skills, technical abilities, and regional networking. Capacity of the fellows will be built through trainings, community radio exchanges, radio production, and conference attendance. This fellowship is an opportunity to enable the six fellows to successfully represent the voices of their communities and bring awareness of local issues to global conversations through their proposed projects.


Delia Marisela Maquin Cucul (Q’eqchi’) from Radio Comunitaria Xyaab Tzuul Taq'A in El Estor, Guatemala

Delia Marisela Maquin Cucul (19) has been a volunteer at Radio Xyaab Tzuul Taq'A for eight months. She is currently studying Law and Social Studies at the Mariano Gálvez University of Guatemala, in El Estor, Izabal. Delia aspires to be the first Maya Q’eqchi’ human rights lawyer in her community. She produced 62 radio programs for the "Reflexionemos con la Molendera" show that focuses on strengthening Maya women’s leadership and participation in community radio.

Delia’s fellowship project is to organize three trainings within six months on radio production for 22 youth between the ages of 14 to 25 years old. The aim of the project is to strengthen youth leadership. Her vision is to liberate the voices of the Maya Q’eqchi’ people.


Ali González Rojas (Boruca) from Radio Actual 107.1 FM in Boruca, Costa Rica

Ali González Rojas (22) is currently in his third year studying journalism at the University Latina of Costa Rica. Ali has one year of experience at Radio Actual leading a radio program entitled "National Events" which highlights current events in politics and law in the country. As a Boruca youth, Ali has struggled in being seen as a minority and feels misrepresented in Costa Rica. As part of his fellowship, he wants to create radio programs that focus on Indigenous issues and share the experiences of Indigenous people in Latin America to promote new social change makers. The radio programs will be produced in the Boruca language and air weekly on Boruca Cultural Radio 88.1 FM.

Joaquín Yescas Martínez (Zapoteco Xhidza) from Radio Bue Xhidza in Oaxaca, México

Since he was 9-years-old, Joaquín Yescas Martínez (17) has been volunteering at Radio Bue Xhidza Aire Zapoteco, an independent radio station that disseminates social, cultural, and educational programs to communities in the community of Santa María Yaviche, Zapotec Corner of the Sierra Juárez (Sierra Norte) of Oaxaca. In addition to being a digital activist in Zapotec, he loves to play Xhidza music-- chirimia.  Since 2015, Joaquin has been working on a project, the Penguin School of Xhidza, which aims to provide free learning and knowledge of the Zapotec language to communities in Zapoteco Rincón using free software. Joaquín’s fellowship project is a bilingual radio production project focused on the defense of ancestral territory and security of internet privacy rights for Indigenous youth in Spanish and Zapotec. He will also create a website where the radio programs will be hosted and will distribute weekly digital bulletins, expanding the Radio Bue Xhidza’s reach in local communities.


Ignacio Contreras Diego (Nahuatl) from Community Radio Tzinaca in Tzinacapan, Cuetzalan, México

Ignacio Contreras Diego (23) has been part of the Radio Tzinaca team for 5 years as a programmer, producer, and broadcaster, contributing to the station’s stance against corruption and impunity in Mexico. He has produced the acclaimed program “Ojtokalis” in Nahuatl which led to an initiative collecting the stories, language documents, and customs in the Cuetzalan region. In 2017, he produced “Ininixpetanilis Totatajuan/The Knowledge of my People” which focused on the Nahuatl worldview. Ignacio’s fellowship project is to organize three training session in ten months for youth in radio production and to develop weekly radio bulletins, blogs and podcasts on topics related to identity, cultural revitalization, language maintenance, and self-determination. Addressing topics related to traditional forms of governance and justice, Ignacio will also hold a public round table discussion that will be transmitted live on the radio and online.


Zyania Roxana Santiago Aguilar (Zapotec) from Radio Calenda, La Voz de Valle in Oaxaca, México

Zyania Roxana Santiago Aguilar (17) was only three years old when she began participating at Radio Calenda, leading the creation of children’s program until she was 12. In 2007, she won second place in the "AMARC-60" anniversary contest. She was also the youngest participant in a youth program "Power Young Radio" in 2015 and 2016. Since 2015, Zyania has run the "A New Way of Life" program focused on an Alcoholics Anonymous group in the district of Ocotlán.

Her fellowship project stems from the poverty in her community experienced by Indigenous women who face ongoing discrimination, racism, and male dominance. Zyania will produce a radio series on Indigenous women's rights to educate the radio station audience and local communities. She will also hold a training session with the university of Oaxaca and aspires to network and collaborate with the other five Indigenous Community Media Fellows.


Ñusta Sánchez (Kichwa) from Radio Cotacachi in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Ñusta Sánchez (20) is a youth leader in her community of Cotacachi, Ecuador. She is an artist at heart, singing traditional Kichwa songs and is part of the Waruntzy dance group that represents threatened Abagos traditions. She recently completed her Bachelor's degree in Science with the Unidad Educativa “Luis Ulpiano de la Torre.” Ñusta, fluent in Kichwa and Spanish, manages a radio program “Don Dolon, Dolon” and radio documentary “Wawas” at Radio Cotacachi. Her fellowship project is to share ancestral knowledge in Kichwa with children, youth, and the participation of elders. She will create a radio series on leading cultural workshops based in experiential methodology, participatory action, and archiving documentation collected in a database for her community to access. She will also organize  six trainings for children and youth in 18 Indigenous communities in her region in radio production.


For more information please contact: Nati Garcia, Coordinator for Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellows, at