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History of Poco a Poco and the areas we help
Poco a Poco San Pedro started working in early 2016. We started with projects in order to help the people in San Pedro Itzicán and the surrounding villages. We do this by facilitating and supporting projects that are requested by the local community. As much as possible we leverage knowledge from available sources in the community, in research, in government and from project leaders from around the lake, and we love working with other local organizations.
Poco a Poco works on creating small, start up projects to enable local people (mostly women) to earn a living, and encourage and enable children to attend school.
We believe that a "A hand up - not a hand out" approach is the best way to help. This often involves providing training to people who have asked for help and have an interest in learning.
We encourage youth to attend school, to continue into high school, and beyond. One young lady has been trained as a Paramedic and is now enrolled to take courses to become a doctor! We believe she would be the first doctor to come from this village!
The local people, especially the women, want to create local work and activities so they can earn money, and be there to look after their children. And they want their pride back...
The town of San Pedro Itzicán is located in the Municipality of Poncitlán, in the State of Jalisco, Mexico, on the edge of Lake Chapala.
San Pedro Itzicán is located on steep hills (the centre of the town is located at 1,500 metres), with a steep hill down to the lakeshore. The lakeshore is deep at that point, unlike other parts of Lake Chapala. Farming is limited because of the hills and rocky landscape.
The scenery is stunning in this area as it is unspoiled and rugged but there is garbage everywhere because of limited garbage collection. Many local roads are barely usable and its best to have a SUV or something similar to get around. Though few people in the town have cars at all.
For many years, Poco a Poco volunteers has worked in very close cooperation with the Brigada Program
(“Brigada Estatal de Proteccion Civil y Bomberos J. Trinidad Lopez Rivas, A.C.”).
Poco a Poco helps many activities and programs that benefit the communities around the town of San Pedro Itzicán. The people there really need help and support. These are indigenous communities, the people are extremely poor, and lack education and services. Health issues (especially renal failure), malnutrition, few work opportunities, together with many social issues, make it hard for people in these communities to survive. The many of the homes are headed by women and do not have the support of a spouse for income. Poco a Poco San Pedro try to create new initiatives and opportunities as requested by the community.
The population of the town of San Pedro Itzicán (as at 2021) has 6,686 inhabitants. (In 2005 there was a population of 4,246.) But including the other towns and small local villages, the population is around 19,500. The towns and villages include: Mezcala, La Peña, Agua Caliente, La Cuesta de Mezcala, El Chalpicote, La Zapotera, San Sebastián, San Juan Tecomatlán, Tlachichilco, Ojo de Agua and Santa Cruz el Grande.
However, when you visit the area, you are struck by just how many children are there. The population has increased dramatically in the past 16 years. Sadly more than 300 of those children have been "abandoned". There is no family member to register them for school, and many do not have a stable home to live in.
In the 2005 Census it was reported that the average number of years that the population attended school in San Pedro, was only 4 years. In that Census they identified that nearly 12% of the population was illiterate - more women than men. But for the Poncitlan Municipality, 2021 figures identify 21% are illiterate and that 48% has not completed primary school.
With those kind of numbers, you can understand why access to decent paying work is very limited, and why people turn to alcohol and drugs.
The person who Poco a Poco supports is Anita Torres. She is a Mexican national, not even originally from the area, but she decided to live in San Pedro, and help the community. She is a social worker by profession, and has become the person people go to for help.
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