SOS Children in Mexico
Mexico is the third largest country in Latin America. Its capital, Mexico City, is one of the world's largest cities and it is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Some 43.5 per cent of the population are children under the age of 18. Due to poverty, many children migrate, with or without their families, within rural areas, from rural to urban areas, among urban areas, and to the United States. This results in family instability and a large number of working children. Approximately 24 million Mexicans live in extreme poverty.
The charity began working in Mexico in 1971 when the first community was built in Mexico City in the La Villa de Guadalupe district, close to the famous Basilica de Guadalupe. In addition to the ten family houses, it has two youth houses where the older children can live while they are learning trades at the SOS vocational training workshops and taking their first guided steps towards independence. The kindergarten which is part of the village is also open to local children, as is the dental clinic where treatment is available to low-income families in the neighbourhood.
The second Mexican community is on the Yucatan Peninsula in the small town on Hampolol, 15 km from the provincial capital of Campeche in what is one of the poorest and hottest regions in Mexico. SOS Children Hampolol is five minutes walk from the centre of the town and only fifteen minutes from the coast. There are ten family houses and a kindergarten as well as a youth house.
Vocational training workshops and a farm provide opportunities for the older children to acquire skills in carpentry, tailoring and agriculture. Hampolol also has an SOS transit home which provides food, shelter and education on a temporary basis for street children in the area.
In 1985 a major earthquake in Mexico City killed thousands and left nearly 30,000 homeless. Following an immediate emergency aid programme, SOS Children built a community at Huehuetocha, near Mexico City. SOS Children Huehuetocha has twelve family houses and a kindergarten, a vocational training workshop where the older girls can learn dressmaking and a dental clinic which provides treatment for people in the local community.
The charitry has built three other communities are in Tehuacán, Tijuana and Comitán. Tehuacán is a small town south-east of Mexico City, and the Children's Village is in the nearby village of Coapan. As well as the twelve family houses and a youth house, there is a transit home for street children similar to that at Hampolol and a day care centre which offers a wide range of services to disadvantaged families in the neighbourhood including child care, counselling and job training. Medical and dental treatment for both the children and staff in the village and the local community are provided by the SOS clinic. Carpentry and dressmaking skills are taught in the vocational training workshops.
The charity's village in Tijuana is on the outskirts of Tijuana in north-west Mexico close to the US border and the Pacific Coast. It is much smaller than the other SOS Children's communities in Mexico with only six family houses and a kindergarten.
The construction of SOS Children Comitán in Chiapas in southern Mexico followed a three year SOS emergency relief programme in Comitán after the 1994 anti-government uprising by local Indios, which led to many families having to flee their homes. It is estimated that 16,000 people are still displaced. Opened in 1999, the community has ten family houses and a kindergarten. There is also a transit home which can provide short term care for up to 48 street children and a day care centre with nursery facilities for 75 children. Three workshops providing job skills and vocational training for youths from the Children's Village are also open to women in the neighbourhood.
SOS Children’s Village Tuxtla is in the south and focuses on children with special needs. There are nine family homes for 70 children. There is also a primary school for 100 children with special education needs and a social centre that gives counselling and support to people with special needs.
The SOS Children’s Village Morelia opened in 2006 and has 14 family homes for 126 children.
SOS Children in Mexico:
Patronato Nacional Aldeas Infantiles SOS de México IAP,
Avenida Jalisco No. 180
Ciudad de México
C.P. 11870 México D.F.
Ciudad de México,
Tel: +52/55/5277 9100, +52/55/5277 8442, +52/55/5277 9039, +52/55/5515 8533
Fax: same as the above + extension 211
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