The United States’ neighbor to the south, Mexico, has the world’s 12th largest economy, but great income disparity exists. More than half of its citizens live in poverty, and Mexican children and youth face many challenges, including underemployment, illiteracy, abuse and crime. Indigenous populations in southern Mexico are even poorer, with 80 percent of indigenous children living in households below the poverty line. They lack reliable access to health care, good nutrition, clean water and other necessities, which hold children back from reaching their potential.
ChildFund has served children in Mexico since 1948. Help make a difference and sponsor a child in Mexico today.
Ages 0 – 5: Healthy and Secure
To help infants and toddlers develop in a healthy way, ChildFund and our local partners in Mexico work with mothers, fathers and caregivers to improve nutrition for pregnant women and children under the age of 5, strengthen emotional bonds between adults and children, and encourage breastfeeding through the age of 2. Local partner organizations provide health monitoring, nutritional supplements and referrals for children with malnutrition or obesity. We also support projects that help adults supplement their income and remove some of the stress brought by economic hardship.
Ages 6 – 14: Educated and Confident
As children reach school age, we help them learn critical and creative thinking skills based on their natural curiosity and urge to explore their surroundings. ChildFund’s Reading to Transform project has helped more than 6,000 boys and girls improve their reading comprehension, listening capacity, as well as other helpful traits like teamwork, respect, tolerance and participation. For older children, we support a program in rural and semi-urban communities to give students access to computers and the Internet. Over the past nine years, the program has helped reduce the digital knowledge gap and helped children develop marketable skills. We also work with teachers to train them in better education methods, even in crowded classrooms with children at different grade levels.
Ages 15 – 24: Skilled and Involved
Older teens and young adults are poised to join the workforce, but in parts of Mexico, it’s difficult to find any kind of work, much less a well-paid job with growth potential. We help youth work on their leadership skills, confidence and self-esteem, as well as teach them how to make health choices about their friends, romantic partners and potential employers. ChildFund also offers the Aflatoun curriculum, which shows young adults how to start their own businesses and make smart financial decisions. Teens and young adults also have opportunities to speak publicly and advocate for their rights on local, national and international levels.
Childhood Obesity in Mexico
Mexico has a complex relationship with food and nutrition. In some parts of the country, children suffer from malnutrition, but childhood obesity is becoming an increasing problem, particularly in Mexico City and the regions near the U.S. border.
Although it’s taken a little longer to reach the southern sections of the country where we work, our staff members in Mexico report seeing more overweight and obese children, just as the numbers of malnourished children are decreasing in the region.
Like the United States, people in Mexico have changed the way they eat. Instead of whole grains and vegetables, they eat processed foods that are more convenient, cheaper and loaded with salt, sugar and trans-fats. Also, many communities lack grocery stores or markets that sell healthy food at reasonable prices. Bottled water, for instance, is sometimes more expensive than soda or beer.
To combat this problem and help children get the healthy food they need, ChildFund promotes greenhouse and garden training for families. They learn about preparing the land, growing vegetables and managing seeds to achieve a successful harvest. We also offer cooking workshops that emphasize healthy diets. With ChildFund’s support, community members across the southern region have built 17 greenhouses and numerous gardens that provide vegetables for many families.