Journals from Oaxaca, Mexico
2011-04-24 Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots
Katrina Amsberry with two of the children from the Oaxaca Streetchildren center
As part of our IDST 280 class through Linfield we were required to complete 20 hours of community service in town somewhere. The organization we chose to volunteer at is called the “Centro de Esperanza Infantil” or Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots. It is a grassroots organization that was founded in 1996 by a couple from Missouri. They had spent time in Oaxaca in 1984 and were troubled by how there were so many young children working in the streets and parks during school hours and at night. They started, with help from friends back home, to help families of local Indian families enroll their children in schools and quickly expanded. In 1996, together with another couple, they chartered Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots and created a child-sponsorship program.
The center itself provided a safe place for children to get extra help with school work/ classes, and have a place to work on homework. It has a library, and they provide the children with meals when they are at the center, as well as health education.
Here's a link to their website for more information.
We would go on Saturdays and were able to help some days with clerical work and tutoring for English-learning students. The majority of the time was just spent with the younger kids, though, playing games and learning their stories. These kids are so beyond adorable and really love going to school. One of the kids my friend Hunter and I helped with English was telling us that he wants to be an English teacher someday. He would ask us questions in English –taking his time formulating the sentence just right---and we would respond in Spanish. We had a great time bonding over our mutual love for a children’s variety/game show that airs every Sunday here called “En Familia con Chabelo”. We also played an insane amount of UNO. Kids love that timeless card game here. Just love it. My host parent’s granddaughter is a big fan, too.