In Indigenous Mexico
Geography & Climate
- Mexico is located in one of the Earth’s most dynamic tectonic areas. It is a part of the circum-Pacific “Ring of Fire” — a region of active volcanism and frequent seismic activity.
- Among its towering volcanic peaks are Citlaltépetl (18,406 feet) and the active volcano Popocatépetl (17,930 feet).
- Mexico is bounded to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and to the southeast by Guatemala and Belize.
- Because of its vast size and topographic diversity, Mexico has a wide array of climatic conditions.
The indigenous people of Mexico represent the most extreme levels of poverty.
Most indigenous people rely on farming as their primary occupation. Few own their own land, and a family’s average daily income is $5.
More than half are unemployed.
Children at Home
Each of the 62 indigenous groups in Mexico has their own language, attire and traditions. They also are Mexico’s poorest of the poor.
Living in the most remote locations, they are virtually cut off from the rest of the country. That means, outside their own small agricultural efforts, indigenous people have no way to earn income. When indigenous adults leave their communities to look for work in other locations, they suffer severe discrimination.
Even Mexico’s government does little to reach and raise the living standards of indigenous people. Few indigenous communities have passable roads, schools, or other public services such as water, electricity or sanitation.
Though descended from Mexico’s proud ancestors, such as the Aztecs and Maya, indigenous people are ashamed of their identity, and children grow up feeling inferior.
Issues and Concerns
- Traditionally, the areas where indigenous populations live are the most difficult to access. Getting into and out of these communities involves long walks to bus stations - and long bus rides to the city. This makes travel to the city, where hospitals and clinics are located, difficult.
- Many adults must make the long journey into the city daily as they travel to find work, leaving their children home alone for hours, or even days, at a time.
- Those who do find work in the city are discriminated against, and are often the victims of violence.
Local Needs and Challenges
Malnutrition and illness
Mexico’s indigenous children are some of the most disadvantaged in the Western Hemisphere. Children in indigenous communities suffer from malnutrition, intestinal infections and respiratory infections.
Poor sanitation and lack of safe water
These two common situations lead to such life-threatening illnesses as cholera and typhoid. However, because of extreme poverty and the remoteness of their communities, parents can’t find medical assistance when their children get sick.
Teachers are poorly qualified, and they visit remote indigenous communities to conduct classes only sporadically.
Schools and Education
- Lack of schools and teachers are among the main issues for the indigenous people.
- Most communities have no high schools, 20 percent of children will never attend school at all.
- The government has made little headway in providing better education for indigenous people, primarily because of language barriers.
- The few middle and high schools in these communities are usually satellite schools, with few classes offered.
Compassion Mexico works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school. It also provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers in Mexico’s indigenous communities provide registered children with a place to learn and grow.
Children who have been largely discriminated against are treated as equals, and are provided a safe place to study and build friendships.
Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished indigenous children in Mexico, providing …
- Regular nutritious meals and snacks
- Health checkups and medical care as needed
- The support needed to attend school
- Awareness-raising for parents about the dangers of child labor and the importance of education for improving their children’s future. This is a major change, especially for girls, because outside of the Compassion programs, indigenous girls usually aren’t sent to school.