BC CASA was created in 1989 by BC university and college students after Guatemalan student leaders issued an appeal for support.
Before the Canadian students could put together a delegation, however, the entire Guatemalan student leadership was kidnapped and disappeared.
During the early 1990’s most of BC CASA’s work involved organizing Canadian student delegations to travel to Guatemala and work with the Guatemalan student movement and to help threatened student activists flee the country.
As the Guatemalan Civil war wound down in the mid-90s, BC CASA began to assist BC high schools to send brigades to work on projects in Mayan villages.
Today, BC CASA works with the following Guatemalan organizations:
- The CCDA – Campesino Committee of the Highlands
- H.I.J.O.S. Children for Justice and Against Oblivion and Silence (Children of the disappeared)
- Artesana/Sandra Moran
The CCDA is a social movement that attempts to defend the land and culture of the Guatemalan Maya. It is BC CASA’s closest partner.
H.I.J.O.S. is a movement of youth whose relatives were disappeared both during and after the civil war. H.I.J.O.S. seeks to find their relatives, bring to justice those who took them, and to defend marginalised youth from police and paramilitary violence.
Artesana is a café and organising centre in Guatemala city coordinated by Guatemalan feminist activist Sandra Moran.
BC CASA also recognizes the importance of the social struggle in Canada and through its coffee program attempts to provide support to groups excluded from traditional funding structures.