Sharing a 2,000-mile border with the southern United States, Mexico is the 12th-largest of the world’s economies. Despite this fact, the great income disparity in Mexico means that it is also home to more than 50 million people living in poverty. Several areas of the country are vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding. Political unrest and powerful drug-trafficking organizations sometimes destabilize Mexican society, posing difficulties in providing support for people living in poverty. Malnutrition, inadequate health care and access to safe water are major concerns.
ChildFund has served children in Mexico since 1948.
Where ChildFund works, predominantly in the southern part of the country, only 6 percent of people have sufficient income to support their families. Here, we have helped families in more than 1,000 communities.
Through our sustainable income development programs, we’ve trained parents and caregivers in block construction, baking, candy and jam making, craftsmanship and paper recycling. Small family businesses such as these are supported by micro-credit assistance to give them a foundation for the future.
ChildFund’s Integral Nutritional Program targets pregnant women and children under 5. Regular checkups are provided, and trained community health volunteers teach mothers to monitor their children’s growth. As a result, malnutrition rates have dropped from 45 percent to 20 percent in the areas where we work.
Our Nutrition Orientation Program educates children and adolescents about healthier eating and living, including the importance of sports and recreational activities.
To support babies’ and small children’s development from the very beginning, trained Guide Mothers work with parents through home visits, teaching them to understand and stimulate their children’s motor, cognitive, communicative and social development. When developmental delays are identified, they know how to help.
Early Childhood Development centers provide center-based environments filled with age-appropriate activities that help children continue on a healthy developmental pathway. These centers also provide learning opportunities for parents to improve their parenting skills, and also to contribute to the growth and functioning of these child-centered environments.
Learning As They Grow
More than 2,000 children have improved their critical thinking and communication skills through computer programs provided by ChildFund in collaboration with Intel Corporation and National Pedagogical University. "Ludotecas" (playrooms), which are in about 84 percent of our community centers in Mexico, use toys and games to encourage creative thinking and help children ages 6 to 12 with their reading, oral expression and body language skills. The Activate program helps children improve their academic performance.
We also empower youth as they participate in Youth Committees, which give adolescents a forum to discuss issues such as drug prevention, reproductive health, ecology and sanitation. They also participate in vocational training activities and computer workshops. In addition, about 50 young people are being trained and will receive certification as human rights promoters.