Everyday is a challenge, everyday is an adventure in Mexico.
About a year ago as the orphanage became financially stable, or at least not in imminent danger of closing, our Director, Laura Palifox, began to more directly address the challenges of the educational needs of our 30+ children. Most of them come to us with something so tragic having happened in their lives that it is difficult to understand their ability of just surviving the day. Public school for most of them is just a place to sit.
One of the extraordinary qualities Laura and her staff have is their unyielding passion to make all our children believe they are going to be normal. They will have a normal chance at adulthood, a good job, a family and mostly will not pass along the vortex of poverty to their children. Laura believes that, we believe that and so do our children.
Schooling has always been a challenge for orphanages. Many children have never been enrolled in school, they are behind their grade level, they battle disabilities, they fear and do not trust adults, they are teased and more. Our special needs children have even more issues to overcome.
Public schools, whom I believe truly try here in Mexico, cannot deal with the additional challenges we bring them with our children.
To give our children the best education, which requires often one on one attention, a year ago we opened our own primary school on a vacant lot next to the home for 7 grade school children. It has been a long road with speed bumps everywhere, but Laura’s persistence and vision has paid off and on August 24th we will take possession of a new school at a new location that we are now calling San Juan Bosco, Escuela Primaria. The school will open August 27th. We have been granted a school charter from Tijuana to grant certificates and diplomas.
The new school is less than 3 blocks from our present location. There are a series of buildings that are much more secure than the trailer, which has been broken into at least 3 times in the last year. It allows us to physically organize by grade or ability level. There is a kitchen which gives us the option to provide lunch and that allows the school day to be longer. Room for individual study and tutoring during school and areas for the teachers to prepare or counsel.
The new location is owned by Sembrador which is the organization that operates the Hacienda and San Jose Orphanages in Tijuana. While we are on a quarter by quarter lease the rent is free and Sembrador will provide basic maintenance.
Based on the quality and results that our school provided our students last year Casa Hogar Sion, which may be the largest Tijuana Orphanage, has asked and we have agreed to accept up to 28 of their children at our school bringing our starting enrollment close to 40. Sion is paying for an additional certified teacher and covering all their children’s costs and proportional general costs. The current 2 teachers are paid for by Capstone Missions in Idaho and the other by Dan and Gina Streit and Corazon de Vida. No costs are passed on to the Orphanage.
Our Orphanage and School are committed to finding a pathway for each child to achieve a normal life. That was never going to be possible in the public-school system. So far, we are doing that and providing a real home, real family, real educational opportunities a future bright with possibilities and it will only get better now.
Thank you for your support, belief and dedication to opening opportunities to children who had no pathway to a normal life before you came along. I invite you to visit.
Steve and Mary Ellis
Casa Hogar Morada del Nino Jesus