Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults

by Atzin Mexico / Atzin Desarrollo Comunitario AC
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Atzin Helps Special Needs of 85 Children & Adults
Installation satellite antenna on Atzin roof 2022
Installation satellite antenna on Atzin roof 2022

DONE! MUCH NEEDED CHANGES TO ATZIN INFRASTRUCTURE

As readers will appreciate, good programs can only run with certain supports in place, like the right personnel but also, the right physical structures. For those with an eye to construction and installations, here is run-down on Atzin's rehabilitation and general improvements on our facilities carried out over the past three months.

Rehabilitation of the Atzin Centre in Tlamacazapa

The rehab started with a massive de-cluttering of accumulated program-related materials (what a difference!), removal of old paint on concrete floors (a tedious scraping effort undertaken by many) followed by the painting of walls and floors by the promoters and team. Followed by,

  • Installation of a satellite dish on the centre’s roof after much deliberation of how to best make internet happen. Now for grounding of connections, office equipment setup, and security measures. This will be a communication breakthrough.
  • Replacement of the leaking vinyl roof (the famous “lona”) over the terrace (which, depending on the day, serves as a classroom, a meeting space, an outdoor kitchen, and a prenatal waiting area). The original roof lasted 15 years, and its metal frame remains sturdy. The new roof lets in more light, and looks super
  • Installation of a new 18’ fridge in the kitchen. The old one was on its last legs, having been hauled to Cuernavaca twice for repairs.

Still pending: annual cleaning of rainwater catchment cistern and dry toilet vaults; funding search for replacement of the old and well-used but deteriorating kitchen counter with cupboards (yes, still the same one for those recall pouring water down the sink, overflowing the bucket underneath it); and the painting of kitchen floor. Someone stole (siphoned) all of our cistern water in mid-December – a more than annoying blow; everyone went into ultra-conservation mode, relying on rainwater stored in three additional large tanks to get us through the dry season – a “pipa” of water will be purchased right after Easter, trucked in from Taxco.

Atzin House/ Office in Cuernavaca

  • Construction of a traditional “palapa” with a rectangular palm roof supported by wood posts in the yard. The palapa has already served as a classroom for a total of six days of training; a Board meeting room for two days; and a quiet place for conversation and relaxation. We still need more working space – the House is crowded.
  • Startup of ecological rocket stove prototypes made of rebar and concrete. David's latest model = 7 minutes to boiling 1 liter of water. This all in preparation for a new pilot project focusing on hosehold kitchen gardens, rocket stoves and rainwater catchment for 20 families.
  • Construction of a (wonderful) door to close-off an open office space – the one location in the House with peace and quiet for writing and conversations. Installation of sturdy clotheslines on the roof of Atzin House.

As always, a fierce thank you to the volunteers, donors and all those who send good thoughts our way as we carry on with the little-by-little construction of a better future.

Sincerely, Susan

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Consult by special needs
Consult by special needs

To capture the work completed by the Atzin team over the last months is actually a task in itself – the days and weeks run together, creating a moving mosaic of activity and emotions. At the same time, re-gaining momentum in our programming has consumed much time and energy – considerably more than anticipated, and comparable to overcoming a sort of inertia, resulting from an all-consuming covid campaign.

Activities that functioned easily in 2019 now require a considerable input of attention to start up again. In part because of turnover of promoters with new people who all need training, but more so, the need to refresh everyone’s memory about the details that actually make a program run. Each major activity needs to be thought through (the specifics matter), sequenced (the order matters) and then, paced (so does the speed of implementation).

Diving into a new year with optimism and a fighting spirit, here are recent highlights,  

  • Covid illness continues but deaths are dropping in number since October – that is good news. Promoters persist in visiting families, offering support and food, and recording family reports of symptoms. This promotes considerable goodwill with families and gives an accurate compilation of all village deaths from all causes.
  • The Early Stimulation program for pre-school children re-started as a priority in September 2021 and with a total of 40 children attending in two groups in the afternoons, is doing well. The Nutrition program offers the children a snack of almond/soya milk with an amaranth bar.
  • Due to repeated parent demand, the Atzin team is in the throes of re-opening Tihueliske Education for Children this week with an age modification: children aged 6-9 years, whether registered in primary school or not, can attend four mornings per week. Schools remain closed except for one morning per week to drop off and pick up homework. With very limited literacy support at home and no access to internet, most children have not advanced in their reading and writing skills; older children have started working and are not likely to return to a classroom.
  • Active registration on the Special Needs program is now updated with services provided for 64 children and adults. Promoters visit individuals at home, distribute medications and vitamin supplements, and once again, accompany patients to medical appointments as possible to obtain in Cuernavaca and Mexico City.
  • Many more pregnant women now attend the traditional care offered each Saturday by our midwife, Victoria, with a promoter assisting.
  • A new external accountant for Atzin Mexico is on board; a December fundraising appeal using multiple venues was our most successful to date; legal papers for Atzin and Yotlakat non Siwatl have been renewed. All provide necessary structure to the organization.   

Thank you as always for your encouragement and financial support. As a group, we are doing our best against tough odds, re-gaining momentum in all programs

Sincerely, Susan

PS. Produced during the covid19 pandemic on a shoestring budget, Returning to Strength captures our approach to community development and social change - well worth watching for our supporters. Click here to view https://vimeo.com/503278349

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Ana checks the condition of a child's teeth.
Ana checks the condition of a child's teeth.

One thing that we at Atzin have learned over time: the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” story rarely happens. Emerging from the quagmire of poverty, violence and marginalization requires more than personal determination.

For children living out the day-to-day hardships of difficult circumstances, hard work alone will not overcome the many obstacles to achievement of an education and decent living.

We recognize that the building of self-reliance often means sustained effort by an individual combined with a reliance on others at critical points in time. This is a world of mutual interconnections, and our focus is the creation of opportunity – opportunities that will allow the unleashing of potential and the possibility of change.

       The smallest act in the most limited circumstances bears the seed of boundlessness, because one deed,  and sometimes one word, suffices to change every constellation (Hannah Arendt)

Since our last report in early August, the Atzin team has worked hard on these opportunities,

  • Five days of intensive participatory training about: development milestones for children under six years; better nutrition using the traffic light technique (green, yellow and red foods) and identification of higher nutrient foods; active listening; yoga for children and meditation; making oral rehydration solution at home for early treatment of dehydration, and cost-comparisons with purchased solutions.
  • Organizing and restarting the Tihueliske Early Stimulation program for children 2-6 years with registration of 41 children, organized in two groups, each for two afternoons per week. Orientation for two new educators. Incorporation of four small children with special needs.
  • Continuation of prenatal clinic and newborn home visits.
  • Condolence visits to bereaved families and continuation of registry of deaths with data analysis in process.
  • Attention, accompanimient and visits to children and adults with special needs – a very necessary albeit time-consuming service-oriented program.

When people of whatever age are supported at the right time and in the right way, enabling them to determine a new course for themselves, we have done our job.

With your generous support, we carry on with the unleashing of people's creative potential. 

Abrazos desde Mexico, Susan

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Promotors measure child growth
Promotors measure child growth

Dear Friends of Tlamacazapa and Atzin,

First, a tidbit of good news: our recent video, Returning to Strength - the Long Road from Conquest to Discovery Lessons about Development from Tlamacazapa, Mexico, was selected for 4 international film festivals: Cannes International Cinema Festival (Can you believe that? Amazing!); Toronto International Film Festival; and, Berlin International Art Film Festival.

And, to our great pleasure, Returning to Strength was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Toronto International Women Film Festival.

Produced during the covid19 pandemic on a shoestring budget, and allowing us to creatively tell our story (and in the process, serving to release pent-up emotions), Returning to Strength captures our approach to community development and social change - admitedly an uphill labour, one that is, in fact, faced by everyone, everywhere. Click here to view Returning to Strength Tlamacazapa Mexico

Over the past months, families have strained to deal with deeper debt due to continuing covid illness as well as decreased streets sales of baskets and plastic trinkets, resulting in lower income. Our special needs program is working overtime with more individuals registered. 

In mid-June 2021, the village reeled with acute grief as five young men were assassinated by “narcos,” drug dealers without conscience sending a brutal message of intimidation to innocent people in a battle for control of territory. We work to actively support the widows and eight small children left fatherless - this is new ground for the Atzin team, requiring plenty of footwork, visits and phone calls, and more security measures. 

In times of covid, in moments of despair and fearfulness, we each can be a beacon of hope, extending ourselves to others in courageous kindness. We stand up and step out into the arena of life, doing our best against tough odds, pressing on with the creation of better times and a return to strength.

Sincerely, 

Susan

Here is that link again: https://vimeo.com/503278349

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Promoter Workshop Developmental Milestones Childre
Promoter Workshop Developmental Milestones Childre

As a team, we have continued a covid response since April 2020 and not let up. Click Returning to Strength - Lessons about Development from Tlamacazapa, Mexico on Vimeo to view our new video– sit back and watch the promoters at work.  

In brief, during the past three months (January-March 2021) we have:

  • Continued the Tihueliske Education classes for children 6-12 years of age, held outdoors with a total of 115 children who are organized in small groups, each child attending twice a week for three hours. One young promoter monitors handwashing, face masks, disinfection and safe distance. With these classes, the children have advanced in reading, writing and arithmetic and not lost a year. (Our literacy program for women and youth as well as early stimulation for young children remain on hold.) Two young women have recently joined as new educators.
  • Continued our Midwifery and Motlan Dental Programs which are both operating with high demand amidst different precautions.
  • Focused on the children and adults with special needs, updating our registrations to include new people, and now getting individuals to appointments for health consults. At present there are 40 children and 39 adults who receive active follow-up.
  • Maintained our registry of deaths in the village, especially important as the position of civil registrar for vital statistics has been vacant since December 2019. Promoters visit each household with a death in the family to offer condolences and food and obtain a short history. This has helped us keep roughly up-to-date on covid occurrence in the village.
  • Conducted two full days of promoter training (on topics of: security and development milestones of children under five years) with weekly follow-up learning circles.
  • Started a vegetable and herb garden in the yard of the Atzin Office – we decided to walk the talk of eating higher nutrient food, and are making progress as a team in Cuernavaca. Each plant is very much appreciated!
  • Completed many administrative matters that were put aside during the intense first year of covid – while perhaps less than exciting to report, these details are actually what keep the programs running.

Thank you with appreciation for all encouragement - we press on with the creation of opportunities for better times.

Susan Smith
Director, Atzin

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Organization Information

Atzin Mexico / Atzin Desarrollo Comunitario AC

Location: Cuernavaca, Morelos - Mexico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @N/A
Project Leader:
Susan Smith
Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico
$62,552 raised of $95,000 goal
 
575 donations
$32,448 to go
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