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
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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Carlos receives an early gift for King's Day
Carlos receives an early gift for King's Day

Dear Friends of Atzin and Tlamacazapa,                                                                  January 2021

During 2020, we have held each other’s hands; been helped by the wise counsel of others when challenging situations hit us hard; and felt encouraged by people’s generosity and concern for the poorest amongst us.

As a team, we planned a covid response in early April and worked the plan thoroughly till year end – that all was immensely satisfying with notable advances in promoter skills and the emergence of greater goodwill with more families. At the same time, we rebounded from one crisis to the next, contributing to a general sense of exhaustion as well as a growing worry about the increasing numbers of pregnant women and infants with health problems as well as new children with special needs.

While still surrounded by many who are ill but now with fewer deaths, we focus on re-gaining momentum in our health and education programs, and continued training of promoters, in particular, Ana and Marisol, the two young women who are working in the Atzin office and carrying more responsibility.

Since mid-September the educators have been giving classes outdoors in the open air to 120 children aged 6-12 years of age. Each child attends twice a week for three hours, in small groups of eight, eats a meal, and leaves with homework. One young promoter monitors handwashing, face masks, disinfection and safe distance. Without these classes, the children would lose a year of reading, writing and arithmetic. (Our literacy program for women and youth as well as early stimulation for young children remain on hold.)

Our Midwifery and Motlan Dental Programs are operating with high demand; people line up for their turn, and we can only admire their patient persistence.

Those with acute special needs receive medicines and vitamins, home visits and food packages each month. We re-started the organization of medical appointments with promoter accompaniment and transport costs, working around the current limitations in government medical services.

The bald truth: Covid has exposed the world’s glaring inequalities and toxic environments, driving us to do what is possible to re-member and re-construct healthy, healing lives. We press on with the creation of opportunities for better times.

Again, our grateful appreciation to all who donated, supported and cheered us on during these months.

Thank you and warmest best wishes for 2021.

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Home therapy by Lupe and Gaby
Home therapy by Lupe and Gaby

GIVING TUESDAY on December 1st is DONATION DAY. 

No access to internet and no television at home means no classes for children living in acute poverty in Tlamacazapa. Atzin educators are working hard with 120 children so that they keep learning the basics during covid. And they see the dentist - with all covid precautions - and eat a meal as well. Atzin's midwifery program is booming in attendance. 

Since May, promoters continued to visit one-on-one with the children and elderly at highest risk in their homes. This has been a difficult task on top of the covid campaign activities but they have persisted. 

A donation on December 1st will be MATCHED by GlobalGiving - your donation during this 24 hour campaign goes way further, helps more.

Your gift will make a remarkable difference to help us recover momentum in programming during covid. 

We can only do this with you - please give on Tuesday, December 1st. 

Sincerely, Susan

Ps. Educators and promoters are part of our frontline team during the pandemic - all are amazing young women doing their best every day. The dentist and midwife are amazing too. 

Pps. This link has the terms and conditions of GG Giving Tuesday campaign:

GlobalGiving - #GivingTuesday 2020 Terms & Conditions

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Atzin promoters during covid training
Atzin promoters during covid training

Dear Friends, after four months in the thick of covid in Tlamacazapa, I recorded a message to donors and volunteers shortly after my return to Calgary earlier in September - please have a look,

https://youtu.be/VhDzyoZcIko

When I look back on our covid work in Tlamacazapa over the past six months, the whole experience takes on a blurry, rather exhausted feel, and it is difficult to distinguish one day from another.

As a team, we planned a covid response and worked the plan thoroughly – that all was immensely satisfying. At the same time, we were rebounding from one crisis to the next: a family devasted by a death; a critically sick person suffering at home, refusing to go to hospital; too many people asking for food, far exceeding our supplies; key staff waylaid by injury and illness.

All the while a constant underlying tension existed, urging us to get organized; figure out the different presentations of covid in this population; fend off covid naysayers (who just ignored the death count and the sheer numbers of really sick individuals); deal with street stress caused by men hanging around drinking; and importantly, remain united as a group despite the workload.

Highlights of our work are:

  • Ten distributions of food packages (beans, rice, lentils and more) every two weeks, increasing from 400 families to 780 families by distribution #8. Negotiation of donations from private businesses in Mexico as well as from individuals and groups internationally; transport and storage of food on site; development of systems and promoter training for orderly distributions.
  • Production of seven flyers and information sheets in Spanish, posted on atzin website;
  • Completion of two rounds of covid education visits to all households, street by street, by promoters;
  • Rapid shift to production of 4,200+ cloth face masks in the sewing workshop, with distribution;
  • Condolence visits to families with a death, with gift of food package, 200 pesos and confirmation of symptoms of patient;
  • Initiation and maintenance of a detailed death registry for Tlamacazapa from 26 April- 24 August (total of 47 deaths, of which 38 probable covid);
  • Production of a five-minute video about covid in Tlamacazapa, with Rodrigo Cruz (see below);
  • Delivery of 22 information packages with example flyers and information sheets to different institutions, government departments and women’s groups in Guerrero.

Without diminishing the suffering caused by covid in this vulnerable population of 8,000, there were evident blessings: promoters learned to carry greater responsibility by suddenly having more responsibility; their organizational skills advanced considerably as they processed hundreds of families; and importantly, stronger goodwill between Atzin and the community was forged by fast response to acute need and visits of condolence to those with a death in the family. The promoters’ work as frontline workers over the past six months was nothing short of inspiring.

On a different note – the long-awaited re-construction of the Atzin website is now LIVE. Check it out at www.atzin.org. A wizard of a woman, Terri Charchuk, took on that immense task (interesting tidbit: Terri was one of Atzin’s first international volunteers, arriving in 1999 for four months). Also, a group of four (Phil, Shelley, Ann, Naomi) kept up zoom conversations with me each Sunday for four months – listening, encouraging, giving thoughtful questions and comments. I cannot thank all of them enough. 

Again, our grateful appreciation to all of the heroes of the heart who donated, supported and cheered us on during these months.

Sincerely, Susan

PS in case you missed it, our 5-minute video on covid in Tlamacazapa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uY2VbpmUvI

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723 families during food distribution 6-10 July
723 families during food distribution 6-10 July

Surrounded by grieving families as the death toll in Tlamacazapa rises steadily, Atzin promoters work tirelessly to support their community, offering food, information, basic health advice and comfort. A total of 30 covid deaths have happened in the last eight weeks, each a tragedy for the family. 

Additional initiatives are now in place to help mitigate the impact of covid,

  • condolence visits to those with a death in the family, with a gift of a food package, money and soap;
  • organization of a registry of covid-related deaths with a mapping of their locations;
  • confirmed collaboration with the municipality (a historical first) to distribute food packages once to 800 families in total.


Be inspired by the work of the promoters who are facing the double impact of covid on their community:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uY2VbpmUvI

Your support will provide highly vulnerable families with basic food for survival. 

Your generosity will save lives.

Susan Smith

723 families during food distribution 6-10 July
723 families during food distribution 6-10 July
Women line up for food distribution 6-10 July
Women line up for food distribution 6-10 July
Everyone disinfects their hands first
Everyone disinfects their hands first

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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
$63,352 raised of $95,000 goal
 
601 donations
$31,648 to go
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