Tierra Roja Cuxtitali is a community center for children and adults in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México.
Mission: To expand the opportunities for social integration of the urban neighborhood of Cuxtitali, San Cristobal de Las Casas through the development of educational and training activities and promoting intercultural exchange in a community learning space.
Vision: To be a recognized organization in San Cristobal de Las Casas, for its contribution to the reduction of illiteracy in the outskirts of the city, and identified as a point of reference and that focuses on community needs.
Tierra Roja Cuxtitali promotes:
– Gender Equity: equal rights, opportunities and the freedom of decision-making for women and men.
– Community Work: shared responsibilities, participation and collective initiatives to achieve common objectives.
– Social commitment: Creating a dignified and fair life through concrete actions that respond to the ethical challenges of society.
– Honesty: coherence and correspondence between what we say and what we do, transparency in the management of resources.
– Tolerance: acceptance and respect toward all ideas, cultures and beliefs.
Tierra Roja Cuxtitali is a community center for children and adults that offers the following services:
- Basic literacy and math classes for children not enrolled in school.
(from Monday to Friday, 9 am-12 pm)
- Homework support for girls and boys attending school (Tuesday and Thursday, 4 to 6 pm)
- Basic literacy and math classes for women who have never attended school.
(Two Saturdays every month from 3 to 6 pm).
- Educational Activities: sports, art, movement and dance, environmental protection, permaculture, human rights, indigenous languages, health.
- Trainings: English, computer classes, occupational workshops (cooking, gardening, entrepreneurship)
- Human development workshops and psychological and emotional support.
- Community market including the sale of local and artisan products (One Saturday every month)
Develop intellectual, productive and communication skills that promote a constructive intercultural dialogue within the neighborhood of Cuxtitali in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
The three founding partners; Viviana Greco, Jorge Carrasco Camacho, and Paola Robles Cabrera, have extensive experience as teachers, facilitators, coordinators and organizers of projects with low income women and children in the outskirts of San Cristobal de Las Casas, as well as collaborating with different organizations that work with similar populations.
Calle Mosqueta, Barrio de Cuxtitali, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. México.
The community needs and expected results
A high percentage of the population has not attended school or have not had the opportunity to develop their full potential. In addition, there is no gathering place or development center for women and children in this area of the city. Tierra Roja Cuxtitali meets this need by providing educational activities designed for children and adult woman (15 years and older), from the neighborhood of Cuxtitali and surrounding areas, working with a mixed population of both indigenous and mestizo. The services offered by Tierra Roja Cuxtitali help expand the opportunities for social and economic integration of the community.
What are the sources of income?
Tierra Roja Cuxtitali gets its funding predominantly from individual donors and crowdfunding campaigns.
Brief history of the project
The Community Center Tierra Roja Cuxtitali opened its doors on May 9th, 2015 on the outskirts of the neighborhood of Cuxtitali, one block from the north-east peripheral of the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. In the ancient Nahuatl language ” the word ‘Cuxtitali’ means Red Earth, which has inspired the name of the Community Center, fostering the concept that we can plant and watch a project grow in fertile land. The idea that to open a space where people can learn in a community environment, using collective thinking and learning in a mutual way, originated with three partners and colleagues: Viviana Greco (Italy), Jorge Carrasco Camacho (Mexico) and Paola Robles Cabrera (Mexico), who were personally and vocationally motivated by their previous experiences working with children and woman with limited resources in urban areas.
The primary need that this project addresses is educational. The goal is to work with a small portion of the larger the population of the area, which does not have access to basic education and without the knowledge of the dominant language in the region; usually excluded and marginalized by economic issues, social, political and cultural rights. In addition, to strengthen the academic and communication skills and abilities of another part of the population that has had the opportunity to attend formal school, but has serious deficiencies in their development and learning. Thanks to crowdfunding the Community Center Tierra Roja Cuxtitali was built and opened with a small group of participants in the initial phase of a pilot project between May and July of 2015 and since October of 2015 the first annual cycle with activities were offered in both the mornings and afternoons. Three different groups have participated in the activities and programs: children not enrolled in school, children who attend formal school and women.
Opportunity and Project Concept
Two unresolved problems have been identified in the education sector:
- There is a high percentage of the population that did not go to school: boys, girls and adult women.
- There is a high percentage of the population, primary school age, with severe learning deficiencies, either due to the teaching methods or by the school policies that force schools to issue certificates without completing the learning process. Therefore Tierra Roja Cuxtitali wants to meet the needs of these two segments of the population, through educational and training activities designed for children and women (15 years and older), from the neighborhood of Cuxtitali and surrounding areas, with a mixed population of both indigenous and mestizo. Two segments of the population are provided free classes in basic education (reading, writing and mathematics) and training workshops.
Tierra Roja Community Center (A.C.) is a non-profit association that works in conjunction with international and national volunteers to achieve social and community objectives. The presence of volunteers is fundamental to the development and sustainability of the project, offering an experience of mutual growth and creating the opportunity for a real impact in the community in which we work.
As an educational project, we prefer that volunteers have prior experience working or volunteering with children and women as well as an intermediate level of spanish.
It is also very important that volunteers have prior knowledge of the specific contexts in which we work in. For this reason we provide an introductory workshop that is essential to understanding the basic reasons for the work that is being done and the characteristics of the community. The project coordinators place the volunteers in different work areas based on their profile. We look for people who take initiative, participate and are flexible, in order to be able to create a relationship of trust and respect with the participants.
In addition to volunteering with workshops and as class facilitators, we ask volunteers to collaborate in special events, management and care of the space, support in promotional activities and to share one’s own experience at Tierra Roja Cuxtitali. We also offer volunteers the opportunity to develop an autonomous project in the event that the volunteer wants to share their professional experience or studies. This is done with prior planning (times, objectives, resources) and the support of the project coordinator.