On September 7, 2017, one of the most lethal earthquakes in Mexican history hit close to the southern state of Chiapas, with a devastating magnitude of 8.2. Just 12 days later and a few hundred miles away, a 7.1 magnitude quake rocked central Mexico, toppling buildings, breaking gas mains, knocking out electricity and sparking fires across the city and other towns in central Mexico.
We are excited to announce that we are continuing our work in Mexico, rebuilding Guillermo Prieto Elementary School in Santa Maria Albarradas, Oaxaca. Our work will involve rebuilding one classroom, one library, one Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) facility and a storage room. We will also be working on minor repairs around the school installing a playground, court paint, and a new drainage system.
Progress on Guillermo Prieto Primary School is moving fast. The volunteers have been busy completing the groundwork block laying and work has begun backfilling and placing the rebar in preparation for the pour to complete the foundations for the new school building. Work on the retrofit of the largest existing school building is moving along well despite challenges with the flooring. Upon breaking up the pre-existing concrete slab, the team discovered the soil underneath would also have to be removed and replaced. Fortunately, the team has already broken up the slab, replaced the soil and added a vapour barrier in the three classrooms of Building 2. The first two concrete pours were a huge success and there is only one more classroom to go before all slabs are poured.
Thank you for your support!
We’re delighted to announce that our Tonameca Earthquake Relief Program is now complete! Thanks to the support, dedication and commitment of our partners and donors, volunteers, staff, local workers and the local community, Santa Maria de Tonameca now has two new, disaster resilient school campuses.
While the last few months have not been without challenges (namely COVID-19 and recent spells of heavy rain), we’re incredibly proud of how everyone has come together to successfully achieve our goals to rebuild, retrofit and refurbish Vicente Guerrero Primary School and Paulo Freire Secondary School. A special thanks to the communities of Macahuite and El Coco, which regularly hosted Tequios (voluntary work days) on Sundays to help out on the sites.
At Vicente Guerrero Primary School, we demolished four unsafe temporary structures; rebuilt, retrofitted and refurbished ten classrooms; rebuilt the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) facilities; refurbished a storage room and built a new roof for the dining room. We also implemented a new drainage system for the school At Paulo Freire Secondary School, our work included demolition of three unsafe buildings, rebuilding the office and WaSH, retrofitting and refurbishing three classrooms and building a new roof for the dining room. All of these important infrastructure improvements mean that more than 200 students can now return to their regular classes in a safe learning environment.
In the final weeks of the program of our last school rebuilds, Vicente Guerrero Primary School and Paulo Freire Secondary School, we were very pleased to be able to safely host a group of visitors from Happy Hearts Czech, an affiliate of All Hands and Hearts. Having not been able to welcome visitors previously due to COVID-19 restrictions, this was a momentous occasion and everyone happily got involved, helping to paint a beautiful mural at Vicente Guerrero Primary School.
Karolina Bosakova, Director of Happy Hearts Fund Czech Republic and Special Advisor to EMEA said, “This donor trip was perfect. We visited the two schools, which will soon open their doors to over 200 children who have been waiting for a proper school for four years. I met many beautiful people in Mexico; volunteers, colleagues, and members of the community we serve, all of whom are taking part in our mission and helping us bring children back to school It’s wonderful to see how we have all come together to continue this important work, even though the pandemic is still making it difficult for us to work.”