Happy Hearts Fund opens its 9th school in Mexico: Centenario de la Revolución!

Located in a rural area with high poverty levels, the secondary school was founded by a teacher named Crisbel Saucedo in 2008. At the time Crisbel was the only teacher in the area so she organized parents and together they went door to door in the community to raise money to buy the land for the school. Through this and with generous donations from the government, they raised enough to build two classrooms.

dscf1721

Ms. Crisbel then hired another teacher and eventually became the principal with several teachers working under her as the school size grew. However, in order to meet the increasing demand, classrooms were divided with cardboard and plastic making them incredibly narrow and unsuitable for learning.

img_4570

In 2014, Centenario was impacted by extreme rainfall and continued flooding, putting the students’ and teachers’ health at risk. Though the surrounding community is heavily invested in the education of its youth, they sadly lacked the financial resources to rebuild a safer, stronger, and environmentally resilient school.

Luckily, with the generous support of  Voya Foundation as well as SURA Mexico, Happy Hearts Fund was able to build new school facilities. Over several months, our team in Mexico worked with contractors, government officials, and the school community to ensure everything went smoothly.

centenario-de-la-revolucion-construction5

Nicolette Koeman, the Executive Coordinator of Happy Hearts Fund – Mexico as well as Alejandra Carbajala and Paty Hoyos Belmont from SURA-Mexico each gave countless hours overseeing the project.

hh093-small

In all, HHF built four new classrooms, a library, wash facilities, a computer lab, the principal’s office, and all necessary furniture. On top of this, the government built a canopy over the courtyard so children are sheltered from rain and sun. The transformation means the world to the community and it’s the first time many of these children will have access to computers.

On October 27th, community members and all 84 students gathered together with our staff and many SURA employees for an opening ceremony to celebrate the reconstruction of the school. The students created artwork in celebration and performed cultural dances during the ceremony.

centenario-oct-16-3-small

It was incredible to see the excitement of students and their families, knowing that the children will have a safe, clean place to learn and play.

centenario-oct-16-4-small

All of our supporters helped the children at Centenario de la Revolución Telesecondary School return to a safe school that will no longer be continually damaged by flooding. We can’t wait to see the successes these children achieve.

hh054-small

We would also like to thank United Airlines for helping our team get to and from Mexico for the opening.