Support the Rural Education Institute of México
By Ewa Carter
After four months spent working with children in rural communities outside of San Miguel, I’ve learned some very interesting things. First and foremost, stay away from the haunted church in Jalpa. Apparently those ghosts mean serious business. Next, don’t pet stray donkeys; you will get ringworm! Third, when you’re playing the card game 21 with seven-year-olds, your poker face isn’t nearly as important as your neighbour’s bag of churros. Lastly, pouring egg white mixed with Coke into a deflated soccer ball will sufficiently plug the hole. I feel so rich in knowledge, and our second semester has only just begun!
With one plan for community expansion, two additional teaching interns, many new students, and dozens of smiles a day, we’re off to a fantastic start. The teaching interns, who are post-graduate volunteers, come to Mexico from the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. They receive only an airfare stipend, assistance in finding housing, and daily travel expenses to the classes in the rural communities.
Last week the theme of our classes was music; everyone got to learn a little bit about each others’ musical preferences and got out some pent-up energy with rhythm circles. This week’s theme is movies and drama, through which the kids will get hands-on experiential learning.
The Rural Education Institute of Mexico has two spectacular events lined up for the coming months. In mid-March, we’ll be having “Career Day,” when guest speakers will tell the children about their various kinds of work. If you’d like to be a speaker, we’d love to have you! Finally, “Día de los Libros” (book day) will be happening the last week in April; the kids will engage in mini-literary lessons and leave with a free book to take home. It’s bound to be a fantastic semester.
As Mexico has become the second largest economy in Latin America, there remains a stark inequality in the country’s education system. Youth in rural Mexico simply do not have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. The problem is partly financial (there are few high schools in the campo and the government does not provide transportation for rural children to attend urban schools), and partly cultural (in rural areas, literacy rates are low, and education is not always a priority). The Rural Education Institute of Mexico exists to help fill this gap and to give children and youth living in rural areas the incentive and means to continue to high school and beyond.
Our skilled interns are invited to work in rural community centers, offering diverse educational programs. We build libraries and help children improve their reading skills. Children learn art, drama, and English, among other subjects, and are taught to use computers that we supply. We also provide opportunities to youth so they can meet the costs of going to high school, about US$300 per student per year, by awarding scholarships.
For more information about the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, please visit our website at www.ruraledinst.org or call us at 415 124-1357.