"SUENIÑOS" aid project for children IN MEXIcO
The goal of "Sueniños", a development project in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico, is to support needy children and young people in their personal development so that they will be able to attend and finish school and later find a suitable job. These young people receive tools to get the strength to break the vicious circle of poverty and thus lead an independent and dignified life.
"Sueniños" was initiated in 2005 and has grown considerably since then. Today several hundred children and young people take part in a comprehensive education and training program. They work in topic-related activities and projects and can so find out about their own skills and talents. Emphasis is placed on the development of self-awareness, self-reliance and social skills as well as on the attainment of academic knowledge and technical skills.
the 4 ecucational programs of sueniños
Sueniños: In our Sueniños educational center 60 children between 4 and 12 years of age are being cared for. The children are taken to Sueniños after school and can eat, take a shower or participate in various activities like drawing, dancing, reading or doing homework. They also participate in theater, newspaper or environmental projects. In the evening, after a small dinner, they are brought back to their families.
Suemapa: Since parents play the most important role in the development of their children we hold workshops with the children's parents (mostly with mothers) every two weeks. The topics, mainly health, women's and children's rights, education, family and self-confidence, are developed together and discussed with the participants.
In addition, parents can take part in theater and dance projects and we offer them with partner organizations educational programs such as reading and writing lessons
SueKun: In our youth center "SueKun", which is open from Monday to Saturday, we offer people between 12 and 20 years of age an interesting and diverse program. In addition to ongoing learning support with competent teachers, participants can attend free English lessons and computer courses. Furthermore, they can play sports or attend creative workshops. They can also create their own projects and thus learn how to put ideas into practice.
Workshops are organized regularly on topics such as violence, drug prevention, self-worth etc. In the community area of the youth center, young people can meet friends, chat, read, play chess or soccer. Those who have not finished school can receive coaching to pass the final exam for primary or secundary school.
If teenagers participate in activities of SueKun on a regular basis they get a scholarship that includes school inscription fees, school supplies, money for transport and a daily meal. SueKun is attended by around 200 young people and about a third of them is participating in activities regularly.
It is regarded a duty to to offer young people support but it is also necessary that they learn on their own and find out where their interests and abilities lie.
Sue Cap: Teenagers can be offered new perspectives with the program SueCap. In SueCap interested young people receive training in a craft or education for a job in public service. For 2 years young people have been trained to become carpenters and a project has just started in which furniture and everyday objects are produced from recycled plastic. For next school year a training program for tourism is planned. Together with companies supporting Sueniños new apprenticeships and perspectives have been created.
In addition to technical training the participants also receive English and computer lessons and a daily meal.
The Organization of Sueniños
Sueniños is headed by Alma Silva, Viviana Pérez and Christian Szinicz.
The individual programs are coordinated by currently18 teachers who work together with psychologists and 5 women who prepare food and are in charge of the budget for the household.
In addition, around 10 volunteers are helping with childcare and support the teachers in diverse acivities and projects.There have been up to 100 volunteers from Europe, Mexico and USA helping at Sueniños.Some of them completed their foreign service or their internships there.
The charity project "Sueniños" was founded by local NGOs from NPO "Desarrollo Educativo Sueniños A C" in Mexico and is supported by the Austrian organization "Children's Fund Sueniños" that carries the official seal of approval for donations.
The project is finanzed by donations, sponsorships and international promotions by organizations such as EZA (Austrian Development Cooperation).
poverty in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Sueniños helps children around San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, one of the poorest regions in the south of Mexico. The city, located in 2200 m above sea level, was founded by the Spaniards in 1528. Nowadays around 160.000 people live in and around San Cristöbal. A large number of tourists visit "el pueblo mágico", the magic village, throughout the year and marvel at the beautiful churches, the brightly painted houses and traditional costumes of the Mayan Indians.
But the idyllic appearances are deceptive
Poor children help their families by selling things on the street or as shoeshine boys. Many families who were driven from their villages in the 90ies for political and religious reasons are living in the slums around San Cristóbal.
Many of these "colonias" still have no roads, no electricity and in some there is no sewage system. People live in desolate huts without bathroom or showers and frequently food is cooked in the cabins on open fire causing respiratory problems and accidents. Hygienic conditions are sometimes catastrophic. Alcohol and violence are the result.
Young people usually have to contribute to the income of the large families. However, due to the lack of training and qualification they only have low-paid jobs. They work as street vendors or shoeshine boys or as car washers in and around markets. Many girls cannot go to school because they have to take care of their siblings.
Unfortunately, the problems would not be solved if kids were sent to school. The level of education in indigenouscommunities is very low. Even if teachers were better trained they would not be able to give good classes to 30 to 50 students in one classroom, with a lack of teaching material. Therefore, children cannot acquire the knowledge and the skills to go on to Secondary School.
Those who enter Secondary School are unprepared and are confronted with a higher level of education but also with a school reality of violence, discrimination and truck trafficking that causes many of them to drop out.
Additionally, education doesn't have a high value in the indigenous community. Parents do not have an education either and rather want their children to go to work than to achieve a higher education.
In their problematic environment they are also constantly confronted with violence, drugs and discrimination. Many of the inhabitants of Chiapas also decide to enter the USA illegally in the hope to find a dignified life.
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