The First Stone
By Karen Ocampo
On September 21, the children of the Don Diego community placed the first stone for what will be a community center.
Don Diego, located next to Colonia Los Frailes, has nearly a thousand school age children. As in other rural areas of Guanajuato state, over 65 percent of them do not have expectations of finishing high school. Less than 10 percent try for a college education, and literacy rates are well below the national average. Most want more education, but don’t have the means. The village does not have Internet access or easy access to a library.
A group of people interested in supporting this community has invested in this project to improve the quality of life through education by joining forces with the Rural Education Institute of Mexico Foundation Inc., which is experienced and has a staff trained to find solutions.
The vision of this group is to raise the living standards of the community of Don Diego, ensuring that at least 20 percent of children per year have support to access higher levels of education.
The group’s objectives are teaching English, teaching computer classes, and contributing to the reduction of illiteracy. Furthermore, Rural Education will facilitate scholarships for the most committed students. In this process, the founders of the initiative hope to instill leadership, teamwork, and critical life skills to promote better sustainability for the community.
With this initiative they seek as well to inculcate values, such as respect for every member of the community, selfless community support, care, regardless of political, religious, racial, or partisan purposes, and transparency in the use of donated resources.
Following this first stone, a community center, 13 by 7 meters will be built with two classrooms and a computer room equipped with 8-10 machines. Internet access for both classrooms and a computer for use by the community will be provided. Gradually, a library will be equipped with books to promote reading.
As a new initiative, the group expects support from the San Miguel community. So far the land has been provided by the ejido community to keep this building for the local people. With an estimated total cost of 651,000 pesos, the center will have nine computers. Soon their will be furniture, like bookshelves, tables, chairs, blackboards, and lamps.
“By September 21, 2015, we had funds for the preliminary work, and the foundation of the project (in addition to the land and computers); (we) rely on the generosity of people who want to join in supporting this educational project, which will change the future for children of this community,” noted a statement by the community center of Don Diego.
The organizers have added several ways the public can help:
1.Donations of money to Rural Education Institute of Mexico Inc., or Rural Ed (for people in the US), or Institute for Education in the Mexican Countryside AC.
•American contributions are tax deductible.
•In a few weeks, taxes may be deductible for Canadians.
•In Mexico, achieving tax deductibility is still in process.
2.Suppliers of materials or special discounts are very helpful. For example, the group has already obtained special prices on apartments. It has also received pledges for some lamps.
3.Help in organizing and participating in fundraising events is needed. The group hopes to put on fund-raising events, such as dinners a wine tasting, and a golf tournament.