The Tihueliske We Can! Education Program helps 80 young children living in acute poverty to gain skills for life in Tlamacazapa, Mexico. Each week children learn to read, write and do basic math by working in small groups. They develop better abilities to handle relationships and to problem-solve. The program strengthens a new "culture of reading" in this large village. It needs to grow and serve more children, preparing them to tackle serious local social and environmental problems in future.
The 6,200 Nahua villagers earn a meager living by weaving palm baskets. Laboratory studies revealed toxic metals in their water, soil, palm dyes and clay cooking pots. These toxins produce a silent crisis of slow poisoning. Many children are undernourished, suffering from low levels of chronic toxicity. They are not in primary school or if enrolled, do poorly in school. The majority of adult women are illiterate. Macho male attitudes, alcoholism and domestic violence seriously affect daily life.
Young children learn through play and small group work in the Atzin Centre, taught by young women trained as educators. Starting in 2015, the educators offer early stimulation classes three afternoons per week for thirty children 2-5 years old. Since 2006, thirty children 6 to 13 years who are out of school attend classes four mornings per week, learning to read and write and gaining abilities in cooperation and healthy relationships. An additional twenty children in school receive tutoring.
The program helps children to develop skills for life. The children grow in confidence with better abilities to handle conflict, build relationships and to problem-solve. The program helps each child to learn to read, write and do basic math. Many subsequently enroll in primary school or challenge government literacy tests. Overall the program effectively supports a new "culture of reading" in the village and prepares young people to tackle serious social and environmental problems in future.