Vodafone is trying to prevent the seemingly inevitable death of the Ayapaneco language of Mexico as part of its Vodafone Firsts initiative, which connects people with technology to empower them to do incredible things.
There are only two living fluent speakers of Ayapaneco, 72 year old Isidro Velazquez and 78 year old Manuel Segovia. The pair hadn't spoken for decades after falling out with each other over an argument about the language itself, leading to fears that it would die out.
To tackle this, Vodafone Firsts reunited the two men and urged them to agree on a single version of Ayapaneco, which would then be shared with the world through an online 'social dictionary.' People from around the world can access the dictionary online and 'adopt' an Ayapaneco word. They can also watch tutorials by Velazquez and Segovia and share videos of themselves saying Ayapaneco words.
The initiative demonstrates how age-old forms of communication can be given a new lease of life by modern communications technology.
Vodafone also worked with the people of the Ayapa village in Tabasco, Mexico to set up a language school for children to learn Ayapaneco from Velazquez and Segovia.