At ChildFund Australia, our vision is a global community, free from poverty, where children are protected and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
CENTRO INFANTIL HUEXTETITLA AC, the ChildFund community partner organization through which the sponsored child participates, is located in the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico.
The Community at a Glance
Centro Infantil works with 17 communities in the municipality of San Felipe Orizatlán which has an estimated population of 40,000. The majority of the people in these communities speak Nahuatl, an Aztec language, although many also speak Spanish. Most of the residents rely on subsistence farming, growing corn and beans to feed their families. Severe economic and social deprivation results in migration, especially among youth, to urban areas, Canada, and the U.S. Sixty percent of adolescents do not attend high school. Some leave school to work, while girls are more likely to drop out and marry at a young age. Unequal gender roles have led to high fertility rates as women often have little say in deciding how many children they will have. Typical housing is constructed from adobe blocks with asbestos roofs, often with mud floors. Access to clean drinking water and sanitary toilets is limited.
Healthy and Secure Infants
Through its community partners, ChildFund supports Early Childhood Development programs to promote the healthy development of infants and preschool children.
The “Infant Development Scale,” an assessment tool that monitors gross and fine motor skills, and cognitive, language, and social skills, is used to help parents understand basic developmental stages and recognize delays that require additional attention. Adequate nutrition during pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life is crucial. Growth monitoring is a community-based approach to detecting and preventing malnutrition. Mothers bring children to a central location to be weighed and measured and to learn about sound nutritional practices; children identified as malnourished are referred to the local health center for supplemental feeding and follow-up. Training and technical support encourages the planting of family orchards to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. “Health Starts at Home” teaches parents to manage common childhood illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections, and to recognize serious symptoms that indicate medical attention is needed. Health education workshops provide information on immunizations, intestinal parasites, dental health, and HIV/AIDS. Concrete floors and latrines have been installed in a number of homes.
Educated and Confident Children
“Ludotecas” (playrooms) located in community centers use toys and games to encourage creative thinking and help children ages 6 to 12 with their reading and communication skills. School supplies and scholarships are provided to students whose families do not have the resources to send them to school. A tutoring program helps children strengthen their writing and oral communication skills. “In the tutoring program, I practice my handwriting and read aloud which helps my reading comprehension.” (Victoria, age 9). The “Community Radio” project teaches school-age children how to produce scripts and short programs. Children learn how to prepare simple, healthy meals using locally available foods.
Skilled and Involved Youth
To make a successful transition to their adult lives, adolescents need vocational skills to earn a living, opportunities to make positive contributions to their communities, and support for making healthy decisions. Area youth organize cleaning days to pick up trash, paint buildings, and improve public spaces. The production of craft items and ornaments generates income for educational expenses. Peer educators plan and conduct health education campaigns for other adolescents.