We have been supporting education of youth and adults since 2016 in the towns and villages around San Pedro Itzicán. The Brigada youth that we first met, were taught leadership skills, to volunteer in the communities for the betterment of all, and stay in school and try to get a career.
These youth are the future leaders of their communities.
Thanks to support from St Andrew's Anglican Church in Riberas, we were able financially help more than 60 youth, so that they could attend school.
In 2019, the Mexican Government introduced the educational "beca"(grant) program for low income families, designed to encourage students to stay in school. This was great, but then Covid closed the schools and for many children, on-line learning was not possible, and they gave up school.
Very few families in these areas have a computer or access to a television to watch the educational programs. So the kids were doing their homework on their cell phones when they could get internet access. The community center office, when it reopened, at least provided internet and some of the students access to computers to keep up with their work.
These youth have many challenges in planning their futures and the pressure is on them to support their families by working. Their parents can't afford education for their children and don't always understand its value. If the youth do pass the high school exams (if they can be persuaded to continue their education), they can't imagine taking a 4 year course. So most opt for shorter college programs - but they struggle to get through them.
Full-time university courses are covered by the Government grant program, but shorter college courses are not covered. So the cost, while less than a university course, still entails a lot of transport and book expenses.