The San José Palmas neighborhood is located in the Los Reyes La Paz municipality on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City. The people in this squatter settlement subsist in extreme poverty. Since the community is not officially recognized as a residential area, there is a lack of governmental services of all kinds. Water, sewers, pavement, electricity, health care services and schools are among the many basic necessities many residents are forced to do without.
According to our calculations at ConeXión Mosaico, approximately half of San José Palmas residents over the age of 15 never completed middle school. One important reason is the high cost of public transportation. Due to the lack of local services, it would cost a student approximately $300 pesos ($24 U.S.) per week in bus fare to attend the nearest middle school. For a family surviving on minimum wage- $1,690 pesos ($134 US) per month- the household budget is simply not able to stretch that far. Other factors, such as family problems and personal issues, can also cause slum youth to drop out of school.
The ACJU Callejero team in the San José Palmas community identified the problem of under-education as something they wanted to address. In May, in collaboration with the National Institute for Adult Education (INEA), ACJU Callejero launched an evening adult education class. The class is held at the local elementary school and is open to people over the age of 15 who never completed middle school. 8 youth under the age of 22 and several adults are currently enrolled.
All of our ACJU projects empower and equip youth to become leaders and change agents in their families and communities. ACJU staff facilitators encourage youth to envision improved community conditions and help them put community improvement projects into action. These practical projects not only positively impact the community at large, but also powerfully demonstrate to youth that they have the power to improve their own living conditions. When you partner with ACJU, you are not only making real change today, you are empowering the leaders of tomorrow.