Melel Xojobal Report
March 1 – June 30, 2011
Melel Xojobal is a social service organization founded by the Dominican Friars of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, on February 2, 1997. Melel Xojobal means “the true light” in the local tsotsil language. Melel Xojobal’s mission is to empower the indigenous urban and rural population in Chiapas, mainly children, through participatory processes in education and communication. This is done with an eye toward improving their quality of life and reinforcing their dignity. The philosophy is based on education and a humanist vision that promotes the strengthening of the cultural identity and the social transformation of the native towns.
In the last period March-June 2011, Melel Xojobal focused on the following topics: Growing Safely, Sexuality, My School, and Disease. The work on these issues with children included various activities in each area for different age groups and was enthusiastically received by the boys and girls.
During May, parents visited and participated in the activities of the Center for Early Learning. In total there were 20 mothers and fathers. Mothers were still the majority with18.
During the month of June workshops on sexuality with parents were conducted. A total of 84 parents participated in the workshops. Parents also participate actively in the daily tasks of the Center such as bringing and taking their children to the Center and in keeping the Center clean.
Another area of emphasis during the period of this report was the monitoring and tracking of birth certificates, scholarships, and support to families through one-on-one work and home visits. The Center also accompanies mothers who report instances of violence to the authorities. Birth certificates were processed during this period for seven children and two are still pending. Furthermore, one of the Early Childhood teachers participated at the International Colloquium “Environments of Care and Protection for Young Children – Multiple Perspectives” in Mexico City.
The Center faces the challenge of increasing and strengthening the participation and involvement of parents in the development of their children. Many strategies are tested with an emphasis on getting more parents engaged in the development of their children. Another challenge facing the Center is to normalize and stabilize the levels of weight and height of children from the Center. So far, these levels have varied widely over time and the challenge is to stabilize them for each and every child in the Center.
During the summer months and intermediate school year, the area of Early Childhood will be working on compiling information on other early childhood centers in the area to use as referrals for the Center’s overload. Also during the summer, a list of centers for early childhood health will be compiled with the possibility of signing cooperative agreements to have places to offer families to channel health problems such as preventive care, disease, and violence. The Center also has plans to monitor and track the graduates of the Center for Early Learning in order study the degree to which they continue from preschool into elementary education. The Center will continue to work with mothers and fathers to better expand the opportunities for them to be involved in workshops and training experiences. The Center also plans to work diligently on developing a preschool in addition to the Center for Early Learning.
Teachers have been encouraged by the excitement the children have to continue their education. They have noticed how the children have incorporated new knowledge and have learned to exercise their abilities to ask questions about the present and their future at home and in their communities.