Nov 15 2012

Mexico: Creating positive change

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”

Mexico mapA country that shares a border with the United States, Mexico often has a cost of living similar to the U.S. but with fewer income opportunities.

This presents challenges for families living in poverty. The National Council on Evaluation of Social Development Policy estimates that 46.2 percent of Mexico’s total population (52 million) lives in poverty.

Families, however, are working to overcome these challenges through our projects in Cuernavaca, Guadalupe and Merida.

Violence is a part of everyday life for many families in the Guadalupe and Cuernavaca projects. In a few communities, this violence has driven some families from their homes and changed the way we interact with families when our staff cannot visit neighborhoods.

Families meet with staff in other, safer locations. Our Hope for a Family program conducts activities for families that reinforce healthy values and teach conflict resolution.

Our work also supports parents in their efforts to educate their children. Hope for a Family sponsorship in Mexico helps offset the cost of supplies, fees and uniforms.

CFCA’s Mexico programs encourage active community participation. The sponsorship program is implemented by committees made up of mothers from the community. The mothers are deeply committed to the program’s success, often overcoming tremendous obstacles to participate.

CFCA scholarships provide extra financial assistance for service-minded high school and college students, and CFCA programs provide positive outlets for youth to keep them away from gangs.

Gregorio, CFCA sponsored aging friend in Mexico


One example of a sponsored friend creating positive change in his community is Gregorio. He lives in Cuernavaca and takes care of sick and abandoned animals. He’s cared for more than 60 animals in his lifetime!

“I’ve had 24 birds, 12 cats, six turtles and four dogs,” Gregorio said. “At one point I had to stop adopting animals because there were too many and I had time for nothing else.”

Through the Hope for a Family sponsorship program, Gregorio meets people and makes friends. He is able to socialize during CFCA celebrations and during weekly meetings with other sponsored aging friends.

Through these weekly meetings, the elderly can enjoy the company of others. Many of them lack supportive relationships, but interactions with CFCA staff members and one another, along with letters from sponsors, can help them build new friendships and increase their self-esteem.

“I enjoy how I interact with other sponsored elderly. … I just love when we celebrate a birthday and they ask me to sing the ‘MaÒanitas’ (a traditional Mexican song),” Gregorio said.

Learn more about Geography Awareness Week here.

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