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  • Writer's pictureProfessor Redd, USA

Livelihood and Indigenous Languages - SDGs/Global Goals 10

Updated: Jan 29, 2022


Depicted: Quechua Women


"A person's livelihood refers to their "means of securing the basic necessities of life". Livelihood is defined as a set of activities essential to everyday life that are conducted over one's life span. Such activities could include securing water, food, fodder, medicine, shelter, clothing." ~Wikipedia


I want to take a step back in time to 2019, the UNs’ International Year of Indigenous Languages.

A visit to the site indicates there is still activity despite this year being 2021. It took me back in time in a pleasant way which I will share below. During the pandemic language matters so much for people who don’t speak the prominent ones of their home countries.


Language matters too in regards to livelihood. I have worked in three communities in Latin America two of which I helped people who did not (or barely) speak Spanish. One was a retirement community where the spoken language was Quechua (Peru). I served in a center that mostly helped people who were too infirm to work but had concerns of the livelihood of their children and grandchildren (who supported them). I enjoyed learning a little of the language and visiting the homes.


In Mexico, I provided assistance to a community of women who spoke the Mazahua language. I tagged along when the translator helped them with their banking. The banking aspect was a big deal so that they safely put away their earnings into checking and savings accounts. They were learning to bank so that they participate in the economy of the nation. Below you will see one of the images of their artisan work that helped the livelihood of their community.


Copyrighted by Redd


Also in Mexico (central) Nahuatl influences the language and most of my friends there speak it a little (which has rubbed off on me). It is a beautiful language. If you spend time in a place where indigenous languages are spoken, you could contribute to the livelihood of the community by studying it with a local teacher. My private Spanish teacher who works with me by Internet is now helping me review Nahuatl vocabulary. I gain a language skill to help me connect better with my students from Central Mexico and he earns money from me that helps his livelihood.


Use the link at the top of the page to explore other UN Observances that are past, present, and future. Use the observances to inspire your career development work and contributions to the livelihood of others.

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