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Your donation to the Where Most Needed fund will help us better serve children in extreme poverty.
Luxury resorts and ancient ruins make Mexico one of the world’s most visited countries. It is also a country that faces poverty and a powerful drug culture. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
59,136 CHILDREN SERVED
41YEARS SERVING MEXICO
A girl smiles and stands between two cacti.
A group of children pray before a meal at their child development center.
Two friends sit at a table and read their Bible together.
A girl stands in front of her city and smiles.
Children laugh and smile as they throw confetti into the air.
Three teenage girls dress in traditional Mexican outfits.
A group of girls play soccer together.
A young girl sits on a hammock outside her home.
Two girls from a mountainous region sit next to each other on a green hillside.
Children sing and learn songs together in class.
When do children visit the Compassion center?
Issue: It’s not uncommon for Mexico’s powerful drug cartels to recruit children. Some young people see it as their only way to a better life — especially among the 46% who live in poverty. They don’t anticipate the violence and danger they’ll face as a result.
Response: Compassion staff members know each child and are in a position to intervene if he or she is at risk. The centers also have educational and recreational activities to capture children’s attention so they aren’t tempted to fill their time in unhealthy ways.
Prayer Point: Pray for children affected by the influence of drugs or gangs — pray they will find the courage to pursue lives of hope and peace.
Beneficiaries feel safe and learn new skills while attending the Compassion child development center.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Mexico.
Mexico is a vast land with a variety of terrains. From mountains and canyons to deserts, rain forests and beaches, Mexico has a lot to offer!
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Official Name: United Mexican States
Form of Government: Federal presidential republic
Capital: Mexico City
Official Languages: Spanish
Currency: Mexican peso
Area: 758,449 square miles (1,964,375 square kilometers)
Mexico has been home to advanced civilizations — including the Olmec, Maya, Toltec and Aztec — for thousands of years. When Cortéz conquered Mexico in 1521, he destroyed a flourishing Aztec civilization.
A Mexican revolt in 1810 later led to a treaty signing in 1821, which marked the beginning of Mexican independence. Twenty-two years of chronic instability followed independence: the presidency changed hands 36 times.
In 1845, the U.S. Congress voted to annex Texas, leading to the Mexican-American War in which U.S. troops captured Mexico City. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexico ceded Texas, California, Utah, Colorado and most of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States. The Maya rose up against their overlords in the late 1840s and almost succeeded in driving them off the Yucatán Peninsula. By 1862, Mexico was heavily in debt to Britain, France and Spain, who sent a joint force to Mexico to collect their debts. France decided to go one step further and colonize Mexico, sparking yet another war. In 1864, France invited the Austrian archduke, Maximilian of Habsburg, to become emperor of Mexico. His reign was bloodily ended by forces loyal to the country's former president, Benito Juárez.
Social discontent rocked the country during the 1960s and 1970s, especially with rising urbanization and unemployment. In 1994, Indians in Chiapas revolted, demanding economic and political reform and currency devaluation produced near economic collapse.
In 2000 in the freest and fairest national election since the Mexican Revolution, former Coca-Cola executive Vicente Fox won the presidency. The victory was the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate with the National Action Party (PAN) defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Since 2007, Mexico's powerful drug-trafficking organizations have engaged in bloody feuding, resulting in drug-related homicides.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Mexicans treasure family and traditional values. Graciousness in conversation and other communication is highly regarded and relationships take precedence over other matters.
The arts have been an important part of Mexican life since the days of the ancient Indians. Mexico has produced a number of renowned architects, painters, composers and writers. Murals, such as those painted by Diego Rivera, are an important part of Mexico's history. Writers, such as Octavio Paz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, have also captured Mexican culture with beautiful poetry.
There are many types of folkloric music in Mexico. Following is a description of some of the most popular types of Mexican music.
A mariachi band is a group of five or more musicians dressed in traditional charro or Mexican cowboy costumes. The unique sound of the mariachi is created combining the sound of trumpets, violins and guitars with two Mexican traditional instruments, the vihuela and the guitarrón (two kinds of guitars).
Ranchera music is also popular. These "songs from the ranch" began during the Mexican Revolution and are about rural life, lost loves or social causes.
The marimba is an appreciated tradition in Mexico. This instrument is used to cheer up family and religious gatherings.
Mexicans use informal phrases to greet friends. It is also common to see friends greet each other by kissing on the cheek. The dialects of Masahua and Zapoteco are spoken by some Compassion-assisted children in Mexico. Masahua is spoken in the state of Ares and Zapoteco is spoken in southeastern Oaxaca.
Spanish: Hola (Hi), ¿Cómo está? (How are you?), Me llamo ... (My name is ...), Gracias (Thanks)
Masahua: Jëikäto (Hi), Jaibüto? (How are you?), Inchungo ... (My name is ...), Poji (Thanks)
Zapoteco: Shital nülü (Hi), Shinü shoü? (How are you?), Naa layä ... (My name is ...), Stiüshepeli (Thanks)
Sports & Games
Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, followed by baseball. Jai alai, a type of handball, is also popular.
Traditional Mexican food comes from the indigenous Indians, and many dishes are made with corn, hot peppers, squash, rice, rabbit, armadillo and turkey.
Molé, a dish made with chocolate and red chili, is one of the most important dishes in Mexico, specially prepared for great celebrations. Mexican desserts were created during the Spanish viceroys' time; they are made to reflect popular feelings and have whimsical forms and names.
The typical school year runs from September to June. Education is compulsory from ages 6 through 14. Universities, colleges and technical institutes abound.
Elementary school is six years and secondary school is three years. After three years of secondary school, children must choose an area to focus on in high school.
Mexicans value education and consider it the key to a better future for their children. For this reason, the Mexican government has set out to improve school curricula and has made primary education free and compulsory. However, in many cases, it is a struggle to get students enrolled. Indigenous children, for example, may not enroll because teachers do not speak their dialect and they are discriminated against by other, non-indigenous children.
The constitution states that everyone is free to profess their chosen religious belief and to practice its ceremonies and acts of worship. The constitution also provides for the separation of Church and State.
Mexicans of different religions have a generally amicable relationship; however, in certain southern areas, political, cultural and religious tensions continue to limit the free practice of religion within some communities.
The constitution bars members of the clergy from holding public office, advocating partisan political views, supporting political candidates, or opposing the laws or institutions of the State.
Religious instruction is prohibited in public schools; however, religious associations are free to maintain private schools, which receive no public funds. Primary level home schooling for religious reasons is not prohibited explicitly or supported by the law; however, to enter a secondary school, a child must have attended an accredited primary school. Home schooling is allowed at the secondary level once schooling at an accredited primary school has been completed.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Holy Week (Semana Santa): March or April — a large celebration from Palm Sunday to Easter.
Independence Day: Sept. 16 — Commemorates Father Miguel Hidalgo's call for Mexico's independence from Spain in 1810.
All Souls Day: Nov. 2 — A festival to remember those who have died; considered by many Mexicans to be the most important festival of the year.
Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Dec. 12 — During this festival, Mexicans often make pilgrimages, sometimes walking for weeks from their homes to the main cathedral in Mexico City.
Christmas: Dec. 25 — Mexican children help make a nativity scene. The nativity is complete on Christmas Eve when the Baby Jesus is placed in the manger.
Compassion has been working in Mexico since 1976. These Mexico facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Mexico but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Mexico facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. Donate to children in Mexico!