In Rural 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.
Although one-quarter of Mexico’s population lives in rural areas, more than 60 percent of the extreme poor live there.
Many adults migrate from rural Mexico, not only to larger cities within Mexico, but also to the United States.
The U.S. recession has affected many of the families left behind in small rural towns in Mexico. In 2009, money transfers from the United States to Mexico dropped 20 percent.
Many rural families, with few resources beyond their small farm plots, depend on money sent from relatives who have left the area. When that money stops coming, hunger and desperation increase.
The average daily salary in rural communities is U.S.$4, and nearly half of rural residents are unemployed.
Children at Home
Children in rural communities in Mexico live in small houses made of local, inexpensive materials, including adobe bricks and wood.
Most homes have a common area, a bedroom, a latrine with no running water, and an outdoor smoke kitchen - a small lean-to where families build cooking fires.
Women or children usually gather and carry wood to build the fire. Fires are built early in the morning, and mothers and daughters often boil corn to make tortillas at dawn.
Issues and Concerns
- Families in rural Mexico tend to be larger than in urban areas, with an average of three to six children. Multiple generations commonly live together, with grandparents serving as heads of the family.
- Few rural communities rely on agriculture as their main source of income because individual plots of land are too small to support families. However, droughts and heavy rains still greatly affect a community’s food supply and finances.
- Common health issues for children in rural Mexico include diabetes, parasites and infections.
- Health clinics are usually far away, and families often must rely on often-unsafe buses for transportation.
Local Needs and Challenges
During good harvest seasons, rural families have plenty to eat. But when the harvest is meager due to a lack or overabundance of rain, malnutrition is the norm.
Even with good harvests, food typically runs out before the next harvest, and parents struggle to meet their children’s nutritional needs year-round.
Rural children also commonly suffer from illnesses caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.
Schools and Education
- Education services are scarce and insufficient in rural Mexico.
- In many families, children drop out of school to supplement their family’s income by working on the small plots of land their families farm.
- Most communities offer no education beyond junior high.
Compassion Mexico works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers in rural communities provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study.
Children who have never had easy access to clean water, health care or continuing education are provided access to these necessities.
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 children in rural Mexico, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- parental education in which parents are made aware of the importance of schooling for their children
- programs for teenagers to prevent alcoholism and teen pregnancies, as well as programs about single parenting
- income-generation workshops to help get vocational training that will help them become self-reliant in the future
- lessons about the Word of God and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ love and gift of salvation