Rural Education Institute Welcomes Carlos Martinez as Programs Director

RURAL EDUCATION

By Camie Fenton

After volunteering with Rural Education Institute of Mexico in San Miguel in 2008, Carlos Martinez has returned and been appointed programs director of the organization. He has a master’s degree in NGO management from the Universidad de San Andres in Argentina and experience with America Solidaria Foundation. While with America Solidaria, Martinez was coordinator of finances and operations for the Argentina-based office and an assistant for the international office that managed the offices located in Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States. He arrived in Argentina in 2015 as a recipient of the America Solidaria Fellowship and worked in coordination with Habitat for Humanity to help families set up budgets to build their homes until 2016. Martinez recently moved back to Mexico and began work with Rural Education in July 2017.

“I never forgot my time with Rural Ed,” said Martinez. “I was struck by their model, which brings in international interns to address the reality of the educational and cultural gap in our local communities. I was immediately impacted by the fact that a foreign, post-graduate intern was willing to live in Mexico for longer than a spring break and care so much for a community that he or she barely even knew. Today, one of my primary goals is to develop a sustainable operations structure for Rural Ed’s programs, with the help of other local, national, and international organizations.”

Rural Ed is currently focusing on the Don Diego and La Palma communities where international interns come into Rural Education’s community centers to facilitate programs in literacy, computer skills, and English via relevant topics such as intercultural learning, critical thinking, environmental sustainability, health, and nutrition for youth between the ages of 10 and 18. The goal is to reduce the educational gap of rural youth by increasing access to higher education. This year, attendance at high school has increased by 20 percent in La Palma and by 10 percent in Don Diego.

“I know that the biggest challenge is to combine our efforts with the local communities, other organizations, and government offices,” commented Martinez. “There is a huge opportunity gap that is not letting us fully integrate and share our knowledge. We have to work with the local authorities and take advantage of the knowledge and experience that foreigners bring to us in order to move forward.”

Chip Swab, President of Rural Education, said, “We are glad to have Carlos bring his insights and experience to our organization and look forward to educational and cultural advancements in the lives of the children and families we serve. Since the start of the Rural Education program in 2007, we have had a total of 380 children participate,” commented Swab. “These children have been able to develop key skills that will help ensure more opportunities for their future. They have gained confidence and acquired the ability and desire to give back to their communities. Now, under the programming leadership of Carlos Martínez, we expect to have even greater impact in these and other communities we will work with in the near future.”

Rural Education is a nonprofit, altruistic organization, registered in Mexico an A.C. (Asociación Civil), a registered 501(c) (3) in the US. Mexicans and foreign residents formed this organization together in San Miguel de Allende with the aim of redressing the problem of educational inequality in nearby rural areas. Volunteers are needed. Please email Kathy Gregg at kgregg002@gmail.com or contact them at ruraledmexico.org

 

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