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Welcome to Poco a Poco San Pedro Itzicán

Children at Anita's kitchen Aug 2023.jpg
Medical office SPI.jpeg

We held a wonderful inauguration of our new kitchen and dining area on 8 May, 2024 that was well attended by interested community members, as well as people who have donated or who work as volunteers with us.   Click this link to see some of the photos.

What does Poco a Poco San Pedro do?

We get asked this a lot!  Mainly because we have evolved so much since 2017 when we started working with the communities in and around San Pedro Itzicán.  We keep growing and changing as the needs of the communities have changed, and as those needs have become clearer to us all.   

 

San Pedro Itzicán is in an indigenous area, very steeped in its history, and was for many years isolated. Originally it was self-sufficient with local fishing and farming.  But as the community grew and fishing diminished, and farming is limited to only a few areas on the mountains, it was not sufficient to support the community anymore.  The community was isolated until roads were built to Poncitlán.  Now people can work if they can afford the bus fare to go to Poncitlán, Ocotlán or Guadalajara.  But because of the cost of transport, many women stay all week in that area, and just return at weekends.  This has caused a crisis for their children, who are not always supervised, receive little stimulation at home, and are not encouraged to attend school.

 

During covid, our San Pedro team of local leaders were on the front lines during the pandemic; delivering weekly food parcels to over 2,000 families for more than 5 months.  Our "medical group" of two local people in San Pedro, identified and helped care for covid patients.  Poco a Poco raised the funds for the food, and provided oxygen concentrators and medicines for sick patients.  Many of those supplies are now also being used by the renal (kidney) patients.  During all of this, we continued supporting the 90 identified renal patients and people with other medical issues (cancer and diabetes). 

 

San Pedro Itzicán and the local villages are full of children.  Parents are absent, working in Guadalajara or elsewhere.  Grandparents can't cope with so many children.  So often, siblings look after the younger children, but that often means the older siblings don't attend school regularly.  So the cycle of limited education continues.  Over 40% of the community did not pass primary school.

Our mission has always been to support the leaders on the ground, in particular Anita Torres.  With her, we listen to what the community members want, and then assist them to reach those goals.  Sometimes it's programs they want to take part in.  Sometimes it's wanting clean drinking water.  We don't have just one focus like most organizations.  But we do try to involve other organizations to provide the support that the community needs, bringing in their specializations. 

We can't do it all. 

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Our support for the community has ranged from teaching to grow plants from seed, teaching music, traditional dance, English classes, literacy classes, knitting, sewing, jewelry making, hairdressing lessons, programs for children with special needs and support of education for youth and adults.  Our programs involve people from all the local villages as well as the town of Mezcala.

The renal problems in the area are worse than we originally realized.  Many studies have been done to identify the cause of why so many people have varying degrees of this disease.  But while the causes have been identified, there is no easy "fix".  Genetics, malnutrition, no access to clean drinking water, pesticide exposure, poor living conditions, are among a few of the causes.   The area is now identified as having the highest levels of non-identified renal disease in the world.  The people who are dying are usually younger than 35 years of age.  It's tragic.

If you want to read more about what's happening with these kidney patients and what we and other organizations are doing to help them, click on this link.  

Our Mission Statement:

To help the people in San Pedro Itzicán and the surrounding towns to improve their lives and the lives of others, for generations to come. 

Our Values:
  • Compassion

  • Collaboration

  • Respect

How we achieve our goals:
  • With compassion for all people regardless of age, health or capabilities.

  • We collaborate with other organizations and individuals.  Together we accomplish more.

  • We provide education, medical care, nutrition, and small business opportunities.

  • We work with the local volunteers who take pride in helping to transform the lives of the most vulnerable people in their neighborhoods. 

Finding help:

It has always been our goal to involve other organizations to help these indigenous communities.

 

We are achieving that goal and more help is coming..  slowly. 

 

But that's why we are named -  "Poco a Poco".

Our priorities:

  • Continue to support the work of Anita Torres, who we first met in 2016.  She lives and works in the community, and she is the person people go to for help;

  • Gradually build a community center that will forever be owned by the community;

  • Support the Kids' Diner program, feeding over 160 children, five days a week;

  • Provide stipends to the cooks, as well as healthy food and drinks to the children;

  • Ensure Anita has the tools to do her work (gas and maintenance of the truck to enable her to coordinate programs in the different towns and villages); 

  • Provide clean drinking water to the Kids' Diner - now being moved to our new Communuty Center;

  • Have a secure area for donated items and for our programs;

  • Help some renal patients who are financially unable to pay for medicines or dialysis that they need to survive.  Just a few years more with their young children will make a huge difference to all their lives,  

  • and for those who are healthy enough, the chance for to get a kidney transplant, which could give them a new life.   

  • We are so grateful to be working with the Lila K Foundation, Fundación Violet, Niños Incapacitados and Chapala Rotary Sunrise, in this fight to help the many renal patients.   

If you want to read more about the renal situation in the areas around San Pedro Itzicán, click here.  There are many studies, but sadly, few solutions to date.

Read more about the renal disease in the area

Do watch these YouTube videos made by the student architects from the Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Guadalajara, in March 2023, after they visited San Pedro.  These students worked on the community center design for us.

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