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Hound Dog's recent post, "Feria Maestros del Arte", is a good example of the good works many ex-pats are performing in Mexico.

The thread leads to MexicoArtShow.com which is a website someone clearly went to a great deal of trouble to craft out of a passion for this annual event, which is supported exclusively by donations and no doubt those who organize and support it. There are also links to YouTube videos of the 2009, 2011, and shows. The atmosphere is very tranquil and would make for a great afternoon should you be near Guadalajara since it's just a 40 minutes south from there.

Probably not many people have the luxury of time, and sometimes money, to get involved to this degree with a community event or charity work, but I'm just guessing there are other members of the Ex-Pat.com forum who have gotten involved in their area. Just a guess, but I'd love to know how many of you are also involved, or have given a lot of thought to practical solutions for problems the people in your area are facing.

Analyzing and endlessly talking about problems can be helpful, but what practical steps could actually be taken to alleviate some of the suffering we know is going on all around us?

They've helped set up an art show no doubt involving round-the-clock involvement as the event nears.

What have you done? Or do you feel it's not even your responsibility to do anything?

Divergent viewpoints are welcome.
 

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Actually I do not look at what we are doing as charity or community work, I am doing it because I am interested in folk art and I learn a tremendous amount from the artisans. They may be doing a little better because of what we do but I am doing it because my life is much richer from what I learn from them...I guess I am selfish...
 

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I try to make a point to do community service on both sides of the border. I typically stick with children's charities in El Paso, collecting for Toys for Tots and Legos for Leukemia right now, although I have done some volunteer work at the Rescue Mission as well. SOTB I do things a little differently because I am rarely aware or organized events.

We give dispensas to people here and there as well as take donations from El Pasoans and disperse them to Juarenses. Last week I got 4 huges bags of clothing from a family on the East side and my husband took great joy in gifting it to a couple of families at a nearby maquila. Seeing the things Americans throw out is always mind blowing to both of us.

My father is the project director for Homes from the Heart which is based in El Salvador. I am really excited because they are considering starting a housing project in Juarez and I think that would be a wonderful thing to be a part of.

So I guess my answer is that I just dable in a bit of everything. I'm not in the financial position to make donations but I try to help where I can.

I've become a bit fascinated with the aspect of generational poverty over the years and since moving to Mexico, I am even more interested. What does it take for the poor to no longer be poor? A dispensa doesn't cut it. It's about changing the way people see themselves and their capabilities. But when there aren't opportunities out there, does it matter what one is capable of?
 

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Here we have the Rotary that helps with many projects, usually kid, education or help for the disabled.

An English speaking church adopted the little Primary school where I live and they built two new classrooms and have a yearly Posada.

We have 2 free spay/neuter clinics and a separate animal adoption service.

I help occasionally but I drive a disabled kids to school every day .... going on a year and a half now
 

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I've become a bit fascinated with the aspect of generational poverty over the years and since moving to Mexico, I am even more interested. What does it take for the poor to no longer be poor? A dispensa doesn't cut it. It's about changing the way people see themselves and their capabilities. But when there aren't opportunities out there, does it matter what one is capable of?
I can think of two older Mexican men I know who were able to raise themselves up from poverty to becoming part of the Mexican middle class. In both cases the answer was getting a university education - one became an architect and the other, an engineer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I myself am a person who has done nothing beyond collect shoes in Las Cruces for the poor, only to be turned back at the border, only to learn they turned me back because I would be competing with used clothing stores that sell shoes, only to smuggle them in a little bit at a time and then find out that not many people actually needed shoes...

But I missed a lot of opportunities in the form of ministers who wrote to me about sending youth groups to Juarez to build houses, and never once did I interview these people or so much as snap a picture of the work they were doing.

That's going to be corrected in my guide when I republish it, with a section on charity and just as importantly by interviewing some people in the city who actually know what's really needed by the poor in Juarez. Day care centers, for one thing, would result in a real quality of life improvements for mothers who have to pay for baby-sitting.

I would also like to recruit someone to do some cost analysis on how much it would cost to have van pools established to see the young women who work 2nd and 3rd shifts at the American factories in Juarez get home safely. Most of the murdered girls were snatched off the streets at bus stops because they had to use the public transportation system in the middle of the night. Surely if it's presented to them as a doable project some of them might respond. A few already have, I believe.

But this is all in the good intentions department right now because I have to get through the tedious process of moving the old content into a new format first. (If a monkey really could do this I would get one.)

But it's really nice to hear from people who are taking the time to actually do something.
 

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I can think of two older Mexican men I know who were able to raise themselves up from poverty to becoming part of the Mexican middle class. In both cases the answer was getting a university education - one became an architect and the other, an engineer.
Yes, I think you've identified the game-changer: education. There are so many promising young people in Mexico who because of no fault of their own don't have access to a good education and, therefore, are condemned to a life of poverty following in the footsteps of their parents or other relatives. It's a tough situation to overcome, but many do. :)
 

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Yes, I think you've identified the game-changer: education. There are so many promising young people in Mexico who because of no fault of their own don't have access to a good education and, therefore, are condemned to a life of poverty following in the footsteps of their parents or other relatives. It's a tough situation to overcome, but many do. :)
And in both cases I mentioned, the men in question had the full support of their families and neither was raised by their biological parents: the architect was abandoned by his parents at birth (I think) and raised by one set of grandparents; the engineer was raised by his mother's two maiden sisters.
 

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I can think of two older Mexican men I know who were able to raise themselves up from poverty to becoming part of the Mexican middle class. In both cases the answer was getting a university education - one became an architect and the other, an engineer.
Do you know how they paid for their education?

I have asked my husband about this many times and he seems to be under the impression that there is no federal student loan funding in Mexico. Does anyone know if that's accurate?

He is actually enrolled in prepa right now, a year in, as it's being paid for by the maquiladora he works for. It's quite exciting for us because he wasn't able to continue his education after primaria, he had to start working to help the family.
 

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There are becas (scholarships) usually for post graduate studies and more for indigenous people (define as speaking an indigenous language) of indigenous parents.
There are US grants available to some students. I can find out more when am in Chiapas but I know that one of my indigenous friend´s brother got a scholarship to study in Spain and he got some kind of scholarship and spent one year in Arizona.
Google beca maybe to start with. I also have a friend who received some help for her son who is now a doctor so I will ask her about the grant she got.

I do not know about scholarship for prepas but I do not think there are many but that is just what I heard it may not be correct. I would think the prepa would know if there is any help available.
 

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Do you know how they paid for their education?

I have asked my husband about this many times and he seems to be under the impression that there is no federal student loan funding in Mexico. Does anyone know if that's accurate?

He is actually enrolled in prepa right now, a year in, as it's being paid for by the maquiladora he works for. It's quite exciting for us because he wasn't able to continue his education after primaria, he had to start working to help the family.
One of them enlisted in the Mexican Navy and then went on to study at the UNAM. Perhaps he received financial aid from the Armada for his years of service. In any event, he completed his studies in the early 1960s, when tuition at public universities was minimal. I don't think it's that much now, but you can check the website of a public university near you to find out. The other friend went to the IPN, also in Mexico City, in the late sixties, at a time when tuition fees were still low. There may not be student loan programs in Mexico because fees at public universities are still quite affordable, nothing like they are in the States. But you can always do some research on the internet to find out. Good luck to your husband. It's always hard to go back to school when you're an adult - I hope the prepa where he's studying has programs in place to help non-traditional students like your husband succeed.
 

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There are becas (scholarships) usually for post graduate studies and more for indigenous people (define as speaking an indigenous language) of indigenous parents.
There are US grants available to some students. I can find out more when am in Chiapas but I know that one of my indigenous friend´s brother got a scholarship to study in Spain and he got some kind of scholarship and spent one year in Arizona.
Google beca maybe to start with. I also have a friend who received some help for her son who is now a doctor so I will ask her about the grant she got.

I do not know about scholarship for prepas but I do not think there are many but that is just what I heard it may not be correct. I would think the prepa would know if there is any help available.
Thank you. I will have to look into it. What I've found so far is several fast-track prepa programs, which is what my husband is currently doing, that last about 2 years. Beyond that, I haven't had much luck on the scholarship front. I will have to keep investigating it.
 

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One of them enlisted in the Mexican Navy and then went on to study at the UNAM. Perhaps he received financial aid from the Armada for his years of service. In any event, he completed his studies in the early 1960s, when tuition at public universities was minimal. I don't think it's that much now, but you can check the website of a public university near you to find out. The other friend went to the IPN, also in Mexico City, in the late sixties, at a time when tuition fees were still low. There may not be student loan programs in Mexico because fees at public universities are still quite affordable, nothing like they are in the States. But you can always do some research on the internet to find out. Good luck to your husband. It's always hard to go back to school when you're an adult - I hope the prepa where he's studying has programs in place to help non-traditional students like your husband succeed.
Thank you, it's definitely been an interesting year. My husband often feels out of place and to quote him, "tonto," when he leaves class. He is 34 years old, and going back to school was a big step for him. I've learned to give him his space after class because he finds himself extremely stressed out. I feel for him, but can't really understand him, because I always enjoyed school.

I am going to look into the cost for classes at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Honestly, I can't believe I haven't already done that. I suppose I just assumed we couldn't afford it. I shouldn't make assumptions in Mexico though, this I'm learning.
 

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Thank you, it's definitely been an interesting year. My husband often feels out of place and to quote him, "tonto," when he leaves class. He is 34 years old, and going back to school was a big step for him. I've learned to give him his space after class because he finds himself extremely stressed out. I feel for him, but can't really understand him, because I always enjoyed school.

I am going to look into the cost for classes at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Honestly, I can't believe I haven't already done that. I suppose I just assumed we couldn't afford it. I shouldn't make assumptions in Mexico though, this I'm learning.
So he's thirty-four. And he only finished primaria. No wonder he feels stressed out. Obviously you and he come from very different backgrounds, especially as regards the role education has played in our lives. It's too bad his family wasn't able to encourage him to stay in school instead of dropping out and working to earn money the family needed to survive.

Let us know what you learn from your research at the UACJ. You may be pleasantly surprised. What does your husband think he might want to study when he gets to university?
 

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So he's thirty-four. And he only finished primaria. No wonder he feels stressed out. Obviously you and he come from very different backgrounds, especially as regards the role education has played in our lives. It's too bad his family wasn't able to encourage him to stay in school instead of dropping out and working to earn money the family needed to survive.

Let us know what you learn from your research at the UACJ. You may be pleasantly surprised. What does your husband think he might want to study when he gets to university?
Oops, I meant secundaria, not primaria. He dropped out after secundaria.

He wants to study engineering.
 

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Oops, I meant secundaria, not primaria. He dropped out after secundaria.

He wants to study engineering.
That's a good, practical choice. Has he thought about what kind of engineer he wants to be? In any event, having a definite goal like that should help him deal with the difficulties of going back to school after so many years. Tell him he has at least one member of the Expat Forum rooting for him!
 

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Here is a tale that your husband may enjoy: At age 50, I needed to take some additional physics courses at a local university. The rest of the students were about 20 years old and had memorized formulas and had thick calculators with screens, into which they could enter these things from memory.
In my case, I had no idea how to operate those scientific calculators (this was 26 years ago) and I was the only one in the class with no knowledge of calculus.
In labs, I figured out what was happening and found myself explaining the experiments to my young partner in plain English. At the end of three semesters, I had made A+ on each final; the only one who did. Why? I could think and did not depend upon often faulty rote memory. It came with my age and background, allowing me to solve problems and even to create formulas for that purpose from simple logic.
So, he may feel out of place; as I sure did, but his more mature mind will see him through. What he missed memorizing will be replaced by experience and logic developed through his greater maturity.
Give him my regards and my encouragement. I am almost twice his age and still like learning.
 

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Here is a tale that your husband may enjoy: At age 50, I needed to take some additional physics courses at a local university. The rest of the students were about 20 years old and had memorized formulas and had thick calculators with screens, into which they could enter these things from memory.
In my case, I had no idea how to operate those scientific calculators (this was 26 years ago) and I was the only one in the class with no knowledge of calculus.
In labs, I figured out what was happening and found myself explaining the experiments to my young partner in plain English. At the end of three semesters, I had made A+ on each final; the only one who did. Why? I could think and did not depend upon often faulty rote memory. It came with my age and background, allowing me to solve problems and even to create formulas for that purpose from simple logic.
So, he may feel out of place; as I sure did, but his more mature mind will see him through. What he missed memorizing will be replaced by experience and logic developed through his greater maturity.
Give him my regards and my encouragement. I am almost twice his age and still like learning.
Thank you, so much. My husband thanks you as well. I just translated your message to him (he does not speak English) and was very grateful for the encouragement.
 

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Oh dear, I have stolen the thread unintentionally. Back to charity work.

El Paso, are you planning on staying in the area or relocating somewhere else? I ask because if/when we start up this housing project, you are more than welcome to get involved in any degree that you would like or would be capable of. I am forecasting April 2014 and in the Anapra area, but nothing is set in stone.
 

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I have asked my husband about this many times and he seems to be under the impression that there is no federal student loan funding in Mexico. Does anyone know if that's accurate?
I don’t know about loans, but there are definitely programs to give students grants and subsidies to encourage them or enable them to keep studying. For example, from the SEP (Ministry of Education). There are also other federal, state, and local programs. Of course I don’t know most of them, but I became aware of some when they directly affected us.

My daughter got money when she was in prepa from the Prepa Sí program in the DF.

CONACyT includes programs to give grants and scholarships to students in science and technology. Maybe there are agencies to do the same for students in other fields; I don’t know because my whole family is in science.
 
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