Our work in Mexico
A country that shares a border with the United States, Mexico often has a cost of living similar to the U.S. but with fewer income opportunities. This presents challenges for families living in poverty.
Unbound is helping families overcome these challenges through projects in Cuernavaca, Guadalupe and Merida.
Violence is a part of everyday life for many families in the Guadalupe and Cuernavaca projects. In a few communities, this violence has driven some families from their homes and changed the way Unbound interacts with families when the staff cannot visit neighborhoods.
Families meet with staff in other, safer locations. Unbound conducts activities for families that reinforce healthy values and teach conflict resolution.
Because fathers have emigrated to find work, many families are headed by single mothers. Small community-based groups sponsored by Unbound provide mothers with moral support, access to loans and a place to develop leadership skills. Parents of sponsored friends can improve their income-earning capacity with skills workshops.
Unbound supports parents in their efforts to educate their children. Sponsorship in Mexico helps offset the cost of supplies, fees and uniforms. Scholarships provide extra financial assistance for service-minded high school and college students, and other programs provide positive outlets for youth to keep them away from gangs.
Mothers groups create positive change
Unbound's Mexico programs encourage active community participation. The sponsorship program is implemented by committees made up of mothers from the community. The mothers are deeply committed to the program's success, often overcoming tremendous obstacles to participate.
The groups allow families to talk about changing realities and the violence in their communities. Families select benefits that best meet their needs. These groups foster a sense of belonging, teamwork and solidarity. The mothers learn livelihood and leadership skills, improve their self-confidence and form supportive relationships with other mothers. Some Mexico staff members have come up through the ranks of mothers groups.
Gloria’s 16-year-old son, Juan, was sponsored for 10 years. She was once the leader of her mothers committee and is now in charge of serving eight smaller Unbound communities served by the Guadalupe project.
Maty is the coordinator of Unbound-Guadalupe. Her three children used to be sponsored through Unbound. She gradually progressed to project coordinator after serving as a local leader at various levels.
Unbound projects in Mexico provide scholarships to older youth to help them complete their education. As part of the scholarship’s service requirement, the youth help administer the program.
Scholar students develop a spirit of service, solidarity, compassion and learning. The scholarship provides financial assistance to pay for all necessary school materials and attend class with good nutrition, which leads to academic achievement.
Scholar students help pregnant moms get medical attention, teach income-generating workshops to families, care for sponsored elderly, and provide physical therapy for sponsored friends with disabilities. Some scholar students in Cuernavaca also teach informal classes for about 90 sponsored children who cannot attend formal school because they don’t have birth certificates.
Erika, 30, was a scholarship student for eight years and graduated with a degree in physical education. She continues to take courses in ethics and human development offered through her local Unbound office. In return, Erika works with younger sponsored children to improve their motor skills.
The scholarship program helped Erika to overcome a troubled childhood and gave her confidence in her abilities and a love of learning. She is now married and has a 2-year-old son, sponsored through Unbound, who motivates her to strive for a better future.