The Tihueliske We Can! Education Program helps young children living in acute poverty to gain skills for life in Tlamacazapa, Mexico. During covid, children from 6 to 12 years of age continued to learn to read, write and do basic math by working in small groups every week. Now, our focus is on early stimulation for little children, aged 2-6 years, with classes four days per week taught by local young women, incorporating stories; music, movement and meditation; art, creativity and social life.
The 8000 Nahua villagers earn a meager living by weaving palm baskets. Laboratory studies revealed toxic metals in their water, soil, palm dyes and clay cooking pots. These toxins produce a silent crisis of slow poisoning. Many children are undernourished, suffering from low levels of chronic toxicity. They are not in primary school or if enrolled, do poorly in school. The majority of adult women are illiterate. Macho male attitudes, alcoholism and domestic violence seriously affect daily life.
Young children learn through play and small group work in the Atzin Centre, taught by young women trained as educators. The educators have re-started early stimulation classes for children aged 2-6 years four afternoons per week, with each class having up to 25 children attending. Several children with special needs also participate. Due to covid our education program for children 6-13 years of age who are out-of-school is on hold as is tutoring for children in school who need to upgrade.
The program helps children to develop capacities for life. The children grow in confidence with better abilities to handle stress and conflict, to build relationships and to problem-solve. The program helps children to learn at their own pace and to gain social skills. Many subsequently enroll in primary school. Overall, the program effectively supports new ways of social interacting at a young age and prepares children to develop a "culture of reading" in the village.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).