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Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos

by Amextra, Inc.
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos
Rebuilding homes and businesses in Morelos

As of May 14, 2019, we have officially began construction on 35 of the 37 permanant houses proposed in this project.  We are thankful to Mexican donors, international donors, and especially to GlobalGiving for the support in making these 35 families´ dreams a reality!! Some homes are just missing their windows and doors, while others are recieving other final touches. Construction on the last two houses is scheduled to begin in June of 2019. While we expected to be completed with the permanant housing construction project late last year, we are proud of the local team who has managed to find solutions for every problem that has come up, all while taking into account the ideas and needs of the benefitted families and local communities. We couldn´t have a better team to accompany families in their reconstruction process! 

In addition to the reconstruction project, things are taking off with the Values for NonViolence and Income Generation projects.  On March 22, 11 young people from the Social Work Major at the local college in Tetela del Volcán were trained in the Values Model for Nonviolence that Amextra has developed and worked with for over 15 years in various schools, churches and community centers. The purpose is for these students to reproduce the model in a local elementary school. The goal is for 70% of children participating in a series of workshops to recognize their value and the value of their peers, which will be reflected in their more respectful treatment of their peers and teachers.  

On March 25th, the first session of the fruit liquor and homemade jams workshop was held. Ten people from the community attended this income-generation workshop. The person who taught the workshop is a member of a family that in March 2018 received materials to help rebuild the family's winery, that was damaged in the earthquake.  In this winery the family packs fruits from the Tetela del Volcán to take them to sell in towns in the state of Puebla, Cuautla, Morelos, and Mexico City. 

As for our plans in the next few months, we are currently looking to hire an agronomist to initiate pilot productive projects in the communities. The objective is to teach and accompany families for organic food production. The goal is for families to return to healthy and quality eating habits by planting their own vegetables and cereals. This project will serve a double purpose, as it also helps people take care of their health and the environment where they live! 

Thank you for being a part of this journey! If you are interested in continuing to support this project, we are currently seeking donations to be able to continue teaching the education for non-violence model to 10 social workers, supplies for the next income-generation project, and help with the wages for the new agronomist who will join the team.  Also, if you truly believe in this project, consider sharing with your friends and family!

 

Wishing you the best,  

Stephanie and the Amextra team 

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Eggs produced from the income generation project
Eggs produced from the income generation project

Since the beginning of the permanant housing construction project in Tetela del Volcán in February of 2018, 25 families who lost their homes in the September 2017 earthquake have begun or completed the construction of their new dignified and comfortable home. Currently, we are helping the families of four women: Elena, Sandra, Elodia and Martha.

In October of 2018, the business reactivation project was completed. Currently, we are supporting the 53 beneficiary families with follow-up of their projects, and taking note of the the progress and impact that this project has had on each family.  In January, most beneficiaries worked to keep up the business and looked for sales strategies so that they generate profits to invest and can keep their income constant. The sale of organic eggs, atole, tamales, bread, tortillas, pozole, tlacoyos, lunches, juices, smoothies and groceries, allow the families to have money to reinvest and support the family expenses.

In the town of Jojutla de Juárez 89-year-old Ms. Elena attends to a small candy store on the edge of her home, which was reactivated with Amextra´s help.  Elena says she is very happy to work again and have her own income. She says that working makes her feel good and that she loves to be in contact with people.

One of the most important parts of our project is that members of the town itself make up the Tetela del Volcán work team. Local volunteers have been helping each other build homes and learning how else they can support each other, too.  Having this team of 8 volunteers has helped us complete the construction projects more quickly as well.  

The permanent housing project will benefit Mr. Guillermo and Mr. Eduardo  during the month of February.  Also in February a series of workshops to train social work students in the Amextra Forming Values for Non-violence model will begin. The objective is to prepare the professionals with tools that they allow them to reproduce the model in the town´s elementary schools. The ultimate goal is to educate the new generations in tolerance, solidarity, respect for human rights, nonviolence and peace, to make them champions of these topics now in the classrooms as well as later in life as adults.  

Working on Ms. Elodias house with local volunteer
Working on Ms. Elodias house with local volunteer
Students of the Education for Nonviolence Program
Students of the Education for Nonviolence Program
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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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Ms. Gloria, her family, and her new house
Ms. Gloria, her family, and her new house

We are now just three weeks away from the 1st anniverssary of the devastating earthquake in Central Mexico.  In this past year, with your donations, we have been able to serve 630 people in 2 communities, with the goal of accompanying families in satisfying basic needs and also helping families return to a greater level of self-sufficiency in the medium and long term. 

Perhaps the biggest advance in these last months has been the completion of the first permanent home of the 37 that your donation will help build this year.  Ms. Gloria (seen in the picture above) recieved her completed house on June 30, 2018 in a ceremony that included her family members, local volunteers, and the Amextra regional team.  Ms. Gloria said during the celebration that the accompaniment of Amextra helped her through the difficult process of accepting the loss of her home and being able to move forward in her life.  

We have also started hearing success stories from the business reactivation project.  One beneficiary, Javier, lost his house and the warehouse where he packed and sorted fruits of the region in the September 19th earthquake. With the help of volunteers and the Mexican government´s Natural Disasters Fund (Fonden) he finished rebuilding his home on December 13, 2017, but not his warehouse. Without his cellar, sometimes his fruit got wet because he did not have enough canvas to cover it. In March 2018, Amextra provided the resources for Mr. Javier to rebuild his warehouse. Today, the winery is standing and the sorting and packing are being carried out normally.

Mr. Javier: "I am thankful for the support that people are giving to my town through Amextra, and especially for the support that they gave me and my family. The winery is now in operation and now we are working to move forward with our life projects. I am also thankful for the food they gave us, which helped me support the basic needs of the house. My children, my wife and I will never forget your gesture of solidarity and sense of humanity."

In the next 12 months of attention in Morelos we will focus on continuing reconstrucion of permanent houses, disaster risk management workshops, gender and nonviolence trainings, project evaluation,  reforestation and finance workshops to small entrepreneurs.  Thank you for following us on this journey!

Volunteers digging the foundation for a new home
Volunteers digging the foundation for a new home
Thank you, volunteers!
Thank you, volunteers!
Another house is almost ready!
Another house is almost ready!

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A volunteer carries bricks to the future home site
A volunteer carries bricks to the future home site

It´s now officially been over half a year since the devastating earthquake in Central Mexico and the resulting destruction of Tetela del Volcán and Jojutla, Morelos. Amextra has been very humbled by the opportunity to accompany families in these last months of rebuilding their lives and communities. It has been a experience of much learning and community building for all involved.   

Last weekend we broke ground on the 8th and 9th permanent homes Amextra has build, thanks to volunteers from Amextra Finances, the micro-finance branch of Amextra, who helped us dig the foundation and clear the land  to make it easier for the building to advance.

When we started this project we suspected the impact would not just be reflected in the build homes, but also in rebuilt lives as well. Now, eight months in, we are starting to hear stories that this is absolutely true.  Zobeida, one of the first beneficiaries of the permanent home construction, has experienced a process of healing in the last few months from the pain caused by different family losses and by other situations that, with the loss of her home, had led her to become discouraged by life. With the support for the construction of her house and the post-traumatic stress workshops, she now tells our team she feels encouraged to carry on.  We´re so glad we met Zobeida and have been able to witness her new look on life.  

In regards to the post-traumatic stress management workshops, a total of 13 have been given to 200 primary school children and 30 adults over the last 8 months. We have heard of many women who feel liberated in the workshops, because, in order not to worry their families, they have kept their emotions in and not cried or otherwise expressed their feelings at home. Another outcome that inspires us is that women are also recognizing that it is important to get to know their neighbors. They are realizing that they can help each other overcome the difficulties they are experiencing, which is a take-away from this project that will last well after the last permanent home is built.  

In these first months of the project the reactivation of businesses has also been almost completed. So far, 25 families have received supplies and materials to reactivate their chicken coops. In order to maximize the functioning of these chicken coops, a workshop to reinforce the holistic management of chickens (regarding vaccination, feeding, and cleaning care) was also facilitated. In addition to the egg and chicken businesses, one family that works buying and selling fruits of the region, and making handmade wines, was supported with materials for the reconstruction of their winery, which fell with the earthquake of September 19. In Jojutla, the business of a family engaged in the sale of food was reactivated. A total of 27 businesses have been reactivated, offering the families a way to produce their own income to help in the rebuilding of their lives.  

A very important and inspiring part of all elements of this project has been the volunteers.  The UAEM (Autonomous University of the State of Morelos) architecture volunteers, who are grouped in the Molcajete Collective,  have been a huge help with the design and construction of  permanent houses. The students have shown a great attitude of service and a high level of professionalism, which has made the program flow smoothly!  Also, volunteers from the Cisco technology company were extremely important in breaking ground for permanent homes; they were present for the very first groundbreaking for Amextra´s construction of permanent homes in Morelos, and are coming back on June 16th to volunteer again!  We´re been very fortunate to have such committed alliances in these last few months! 

Thanks again for your support of this project. The families are forever grateful! 

If you´d like to read more about our project check out our website www.amextra.org or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/AmextraOficial. 

Teamwork is everything!
Teamwork is everything!
Post-traumatic Stress Management Workshop #11
Post-traumatic Stress Management Workshop #11
Post Traumatic Stress Workshop Awards Ceremony
Post Traumatic Stress Workshop Awards Ceremony

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Organization Information

Amextra, Inc.

Location: Palos Hills, IL - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Marcela Salas Cassani
Palos Hills, IL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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