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Exploring Pachuca, Mexico: a Second Gud Foundation Girls Education Project

i Apr 13th No Comments by

Editor’s note: Gud Foundation Executive Director and Founder Laura Gudmundson-Tillson travels to Mexico this week to Pachuca, Mexico to visit the site of a second girls education project. She will also visit Casa de Jesus in Morelia, Mexico to meet with contractors that will begin the work on the new library for the girls there. Laura documents her travels for us and describes life in Pachuca for the girls there.

Casa Hogar de Protección Juvenil Femenina

After a four hour bus ride to Mexico City, we caught another bus to Pachuca.
The house in Pachuca is also called Casa de Jesus, with the following added:  Casa Hogar de Proteccion Juvenil Femenina….’home protecting young women’.
This site houses primarily teenage girls who are 13, 14 and 15 years old.  They come from disadvantaged backgrounds are considered at risk. The young ladies here are not allowed outside of this home. When they come to live at Casa de Jesus, the girls all sign a document saying they are willing to stay and their parent must also comply by attending parent meetings once a month. The meetings coincide with a visitation day.
girls dormitory

first of two dormitories at Casa de Jesus in Pachuca, Mexico

 

school dormitory

second dormitory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life for at-risk girls living at Casa de Jesus in Pachuca

Every two weeks the girls get to have their families come to them at Casa de Jesus if their grades are good: an “8″ or better in both school and conduct.  In Mexico “5″ is an “F”, and it goes up from there.  They are very motivated to have the opportunity to go home and visit their families.
women making tamales

making fresh tamales to sell to passersby in Pachuca, Mexico

This house has a middle school, an events room, and a fully-equipped kitchen.  The girls learn to make convent cookies, tamales, cakes, flan, atole, candy, candied nuts and then sell the items to people walking by outside their front door.  Last night we were there selling until 8:30pm..and sold out of everything!

The events room is rented for meetings, baptisms, first communions, breakfasts, etc.
The girls go to school after they wake up, do some chores, go to chapel and have breakfast.  Today, they had a field trip to a museum of photography.

school girls cleaning bathrooms before school girls doing laundry before school school girls doing chores

The house is home to 42 girls under 15 years of age. Additionally there are three more girls who are in Preparatory (High) School, and another two girls who are not residents but Mexico’s DIF (family services) has asked Casa de Jesus to keep them until the agency can place them in a more permanent situation. That makes a total of 47 residents at this time in Pachuca. They are cared for by six nuns.
preparatory school girls in Pachuca, Mexico

These three attend Preparatory (High) School at Casa de Jesus in Pachuca

Educating girls is making a difference in the future of Mexico

My visit to Pachuca has been incredibly interesting. This system is powerful. These girls have the opportunity to become women who will make a difference in the future of Mexico.  Just by staying safe and in an environment where continuity and routine allows them to stay focused and go to school.  Here at Casa de Jesus they have a home in a community of other girls who support each other and most importantly, they have women who care for them and love them no matter how bad their circumstances might have been.


Library construction at Casa de Jesus Morelia

As I write this,  I am on my way to Morelia, Mexico and the site of our first girls education project at Casa de Jesus Morelia.  My 83-year-old mother is traveling with me. Mother and I left Pachuca this morning at 11:00.  We arrived in Mexico City around 1:00 pm and have just boarded the bus bound for Morelia. Our trip should take about four hrs travel time. I am looking forward to visiting with the girls in Morelia on Friday. They will be leaving then for their Easter vacation and their mothers will be there to pick them up. During the rest of my visit, I will be meeting with contractors for the new library that our supporters have helped to procure for these girls. It will be exciting to see the build get underway!
Laura Gudmundson-Tillson

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