178 Students Return to School in Mexico as another Happy School opens
Hooray! Our first school of 2015 has been reopened in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico. This school marks the first rebuilt school of the new year and the first school that we have rebuilt since we commemorated the 10 year anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami by reaching the goal of rebuilding over 100 schools.
Our team had the honor of being able to attend this school opening and witness firsthand the impact that Happy Hearts Fund can have on the communities that we serve.
Every year, heavy rains in the the Tabasco region cause widespread flooding that leave as much as 80% of the land under water. The flooding destroys homes, businesses, and schools in the region. When a school building is affected by the floods, the school often must close for extended periods of time to allow for recovery and cleanup. Furniture and educational materials can become damaged or destroyed by the water and the schools can fill with dirt and debris which can cause health and sanitation problems. Possibly worst of all, this yearly problem causes continual interruptions in the students’ educational experiences.
The Jose Maria Pino Suarez School, a school located in a rural area which serves the Villahermosa community was severely damaged by these annual floodings. Each year the classrooms were filled with up to 1.5 meters of water when the water levels from the nearby river were increased by heavy rain. As part of the reconstruction plan, Happy Hearts Fund and our matching partner SURA Mexico, relocated the school building to a new area that is not affected by flooding.
In January 2015 we gathered the community members and students together for an opening ceremony to celebrate the reconstruction of the school. The Happy Hearts Fund team members in attendance were moved by how grateful and appreciative the students and community members were. The students, though young, were eager to learn and eager to pursue their dreams.
One student, Miguel, said, “This motivates us to continue studying, but most of all it gives us the chance to have access to technology, a key element for education.”
Technology is one of Happy Hearts Fund’s key focuses. The majority of our primary and secondary schools are equipped with a computer lab to ensure that the students have experience working with computers and to provide for greater job opportunities in the future.
During the ceremony the community members performed traditional dances and songs to welcome their guests. A ceremonial ribbon was cut and one student represented the student body by giving a speech to thank HHF and SURA Mexico for rebuilding their school. He said, “I know my words will not be enough to recognize the nobility and work that Happy Hearts Fund does to help those who need it most. Today we have the pleasure of having a school of quality. Its infrastructure can be compared to the schools located in the city.”
We want to thank SURA Mexico and everyone who continues to support Happy Hearts Fund in our mission to rebuild safe-resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. Your support has helped 178 children at the Jose Maria Pino Suarez School return to a safe school that will no longer be continually damaged by flooding.
Also we would like to extend a HUGE thank you to our exclusive and official airline, United, for helping our team get to and from Mexico for this school opening.