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Nov 21, 2018

21 new homes under construction

Thank you for for being a part of this journey of community transformation! In the past 14 months we have worked with more than 600 people in Tetela del Volcán and Jojutla, Morelos through the delivery of food and hygiene kits, temporary housing, post-traumatic stress workshops, scholarships for youth, reactivation of businesses, risk-management workshops, personal finance workshops and the construction of permanant homes.  Here´s an update from the four main activities since our last report: 

 

Risk-Management Workshops

In August of 2018, the first of 5 workshops on Disaster Risk Management was held. 41 beneficiaries attended and actively participated in this workshop, which will allow them to create a mitigation plan for the risks faced by their community and their home!

 

Reconstruction of Homes

The reconstruction process of 37 permanent homes began in March 2018. Through this project a basic house model is adapted to the needs of each family, adjusting the dimensions according to the number of its members and the characteristics of their land. Currently, 10 houses are 98% completed; 9 more houses are advancing in the foundations, and 2 have already been turned over to families!

 

Business reactivation

We have exceeded the business reactivation goal! Due to the interest of the beneficiaries in this program and also because the cost of reactivation was lower than anticipated, 48 families have been supported for the reactivation of their small businesses.

During the month of April 2018, 26 small businesses were reactivated by means of materials distributed to rebuild 20 families´ chicken coops.  That same month, a family in Tetela del Volcán was supported with materials for the construction of a cellar to select and pack fruits from the community of Tetela del Volcan. 

In the months of June to September 2018, 19 families were provided items to reactivate: 2 economic kitchens, 1 juice shop, 1 bakery, 2 pizza shops, 2 dairy shops, 1 poultry shop, 2 tables and chairs rental business, 1 wheat atole business, 3 mini-grocery stores, and tools to work in the cleaning of gardens and roofs in Jojutla, to 2 beneficiaries.

 

Personal Finance Workshops

The first of these workshops, called "The seasoning of finance, recipes for your business", took place on September 27th and 28th, 2018. The purpose is to teach how to maintain and manage the businesses that have been reactivated as well as those that have remained in the community, with the vision of making them grow, using effective tactics. In the course of the workshop, those who already have a fixed establishment recognized some situations that are not favorable for the business and created strategies to improve their relationship with customers

 

During the next three months we will advance in the the construction of the 37 permanent homes (all 37 homes are on track to be completed in the first semester of 2019), provide 3 more personal finance workshops to families who received support for the reactivation of businesses, continue accompanying 60 individuals in the identification and mitigation of disaster risks, and work in local elementary schools to train teachers in the Amextra Education for Peace curriculum.  We look forward to sharing with you more photos of the families your donation benefits every day! 

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Oct 19, 2018

Welcome to the team, Beni and Karla!

One year after the earthquake we have received a great gift! Thanks to your support after the earthquake, combined with help from  the Mexican Government, we have been able to add two new members to our Tultitlán, State of Mexico team!

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Benigno (Beni), the team´s new psychologist, and Karla, the new nutritionist, who will be working closely with children and families in the region on their mental health and nutrition.  We recognize that for children to be focused on school, it´s necessary for them to be mentally prepared and consume a balanced diet.  

From September 2018 to June 2019 our goal will be to diagnose children psychologically, and provide follow-up when necessary with the help of Beni.  Born in the state of Chiapas, Beni has just recently moved to Tultitlán. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the Mesoamerican University in San Cristobal, Chiapas in 2015 and is currently working on his M.A. in Psychology from the Center of University Studies of the East and Southeast. He has worked as a phycologist a Doctors Without Borders, the Secretary of Health in Chiapas, and the Red Cross. With his work experience as well as passion for working with marginalized communities, we know Beni will be a great addition to our team.  

Karla comes to Amextra with an equally impressive resume!  Karla received her degree in nutrition from the Bicentennial University of Mexico. She most recently worked at a home for abandoned children ages 0-6, with responsibilities such as the elaboration of healthy menus for the house cafeteria, tracking of children's nutritional history, and improving the health status of children in a state of malnutrition. With Karla´s help, parents will learn to prepare the vegetables grown in the community center garden, which they can also learn to plant in their own homes.  In other regions where Amextra collaborates, such as Chiapas, this program has had a very positive effect in the children we work with. In fact, in the Highlands region of Chiapas last year ended without a single child with severe anemia, and with 20% more children with normal levels of hemoglobin.  We´re very excited to see these advances in Tultitlán as well. 

As the final part of the holistic health program, our dentist, Carlos will keep providing low-cost services to patients at the Amextra Community Center dental office, as well as giving workshops at local schools. During the next 6 months, Carlos will be working with 300 kids at local school for the application of fluoride and to teach about healthy brushing and flossing habits.  

In the past year it has been wonderful to see the advances in Tultitlán, with education, income generation, and the beginning of this  integral health program.  Together, we can help the community of Tultitlán transform into a community with a stronger social fabric, opportunities for education, for employment, and with children and adults that are healthy physically and mentally. Thank you for being a part of our community! 

Karla and Beni fit right in at Amextra!
Karla and Beni fit right in at Amextra!
Oct 8, 2018

Its harvest time in Chiapas!

Women and children thankful for the harvest!
Women and children thankful for the harvest!

In the last two months, the Amextra regional team working in Los Altos, Chiapas has been busy providing health and nutrition workshops, accompaning the communities with the harvest, building ecological toilets, strengthening the beekeeping program, and monitoring the health and nutrition status of the women and children in 5 communities. Here´s a quick recap: 

Harvest in the greenhouse
In the community of Xulumó of the municipality of Aldama, Chiapas,  the third and last harvest was collected, obtaining a total of 85 kilos (187 lbs!) of Saladette tomatoes, as well as 18 kilos (19 lbs)  of jalapeño peppers. This harvest allowed for the diversification of the diet of families, as well as material for canning and sale to supplement the families´s economies.  A win-win situation!

Backyard Chicken Coops 
Through the food preparation workshops, we seek to introduce healthy and nutritious dishes using local harvests or the production of meat and eggs from backyard chicken coops. In September, twenty-one people (women, men, and children) in the community of Tzacucum, of Chalchihuitán learned to prepare boiled eggs stuffed with tuna fish and chayote (a local vegetable, similar to zucchini) as well as the atol corn drink.  

Training and reforestation in the apiary.
In the community of Santa Cruz in Aldama, Chiapas, theoretical and practical workshops were given to a group of beekeepers in topics such as: control of plagues and diseases in bees, honey safety standards, and reforestation, in order to produce a quality product for consumers and also to preserve the life of these very important pollinating insects.

Finally, Rosa, 60 years old midwife, from the Tzacucum community, shares with us her story of participating in healthy cooking classes. ¨With Amextra, I always learn new things. I´ve invited other women so they learn about cooking new things, too.  I liked the session on preparing atol with milk, because it´s a new way to consume corn. Before, we used to only eat corn with salty foods. Amextra teaches us to consume foods that we have available, in this case corn and milk. Before, we never drank milk because we didn´t know how, so we left it there, with no one drinking it. I like atol and will make it again.¨

Thanks to your support, many women like Rosa are both harvesting a greater variety of foods and learning to prepare them.  Looking ahead at the next few months, we are excited to continue accompanying these communities to have even greater crop production and create more recipes! 

Chopping the chayote (vegetable) for todays class
Chopping the chayote (vegetable) for todays class
Learning first-hand to make the dishes
Learning first-hand to make the dishes
Eggs are a great source of nutrients, like protein
Eggs are a great source of nutrients, like protein
Practicing work with bees first-hand!
Practicing work with bees first-hand!
New and experienced beekeepers sharing tips
New and experienced beekeepers sharing tips
 
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