Tehuacán is found on the south-eastern side of Mexico, on the Tehuacán Valley of Sierra Madre Oriental. It is the second largest city in the State of Puebla and one of the early Spanish settlements in Mexico.
The economy of Tehuacán boomed after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed. Migration to Tehuacán exploded as entire families moved to Tehuacan. This caused a major logistical headache for the city as the population ballooned from 150,000 to over 360,000.
With the low rate of unemployment came social ills like child labour and abuse of workers’ rights. Companies were also using harmful chemicals in their production and jean laundries which affected the city’s water supply and workers’ health. Those working the land were most affected as they could not irrigate their land with clean, chemical-free water. In 2002, the estimate damage to crop and environment was pegged at US$63 billion a year.
Poverty in Puebla
50% of the population in the State of Puebla is poor, despite the income boom enjoyed with NAFTA. The reason is social exclusion where the poor have no access to basic services including education, water, and health care. There are even approximately 18% who live without eating regular meals and children who grow up without any kinds of parental care. These families and abandoned children live in shacks without electricity, running water, and under very poor sanitary conditions. The children who are growing up without proper health care and immunisation will likely suffer from poor physical and mental development. This will make it near impossible for them to find their way out of poverty.
Children often help their parents sustain the financial needs of the family by working. Most find work in the underground industries or by offering services on the streets like shoe-shine, cleaning of windshields and cars, or selling dry goods to pedestrians and vehicle drivers. Breaking out of the cycle of poverty is difficult enough with a secondary education, but even more difficult for those who cannot read or write properly. A number of these young teens who feel they have no other option end up in the sex trade.
SOS Children’s Village Tehuacán
SOS Children's Villages has been helping the people of Tehuacán since 1991. At the start, the problem was the alarming number of abandoned and orphaned children. In our Children's Village, we care for over 100 children who have lost parental care as they grow up in a caring, nurturing family home. Here they get a proper education, and are supervised by an SOS Mother.
Our facilities include a nursery, playground, multi-purpose hall, football field, and day-care centre. We also offer housing for older children from SOS families, as they train for additional work skills and learn how to be independent adults.
Through our community outreach work we support local families to stay together. For example, we offer vocational training for parents to gain work skills and increase their chances of finding good jobs.
Tehuacán is home to children in need of your support. When you sponsor a child, every penny will help vulnerable children, ensuring that they flourish. Become a child sponsor today.