I was recently sent a picture as a reminder of what good we can do for others, despite the storms.
Summer has been an intense, tumultuous time for the community we support in Reynosa. If anyone has been following news in the recent months... there has been increased cartel violence and weekly, if not daily shootouts near the schools. Much of this was politically motivated violence. Can you imagine the fear of sending your child to school without protection? I can’t even fathom. Yet this poor community was left with no options.
To make things worse, flooding was so bad last month in the McAllen/Reynosa area, that roads were impassable, and homes and possessions were destroyed. Having been to the Colonias myself, I can only imagine that whole place just surrendered to mud, and whatever possessions were lost... well, they didn't have very much to begin with.
Graduation kept getting pushed back, with all the violence and flooding, student absences, lack of teachers... but somehow, by some miracle, the high school had FOURTEEN graduates (see photo above!). Last year was 8, and the year before 5. DressWell GiveWell had the unique opportunity to provide incentives for school attendance and gradation with a computer distribution at the ceremony (took months to get them across the border, and configure them for distribution), but here is a snapshot of how your contributions are blessing others in a tangible way.
Still light in the darkness. I always believe education is one of the most powerful tools to lift others up. We're so thankful for the men and women on the ground, from various communities and non-profits, who have partnered to make graduation happen for these seniors, despite impossible circumstances. ROHI has partnered with so many (like Cherish Our Children International) who believe that these kids can have a better life. In addition, local girl scouts and several schools - like Canyon Creek Elementary, Pond Springs Elementary, Grisham Middle School, Pflugerville Elementary, and Block House Creek Elementary (all here in Austin, TX) have been working hard to make sure that these schools in Reynosa have the supplies they need to begin a new semester this fall. Partnership is key, and we are privileged to be a small part of blessing others.
We all know commencement… means beginnings. The road ahead is long. Plans are in the works to build safety structures for the students so they can come to school without fear. Conafe (the education agency for poor rural schools) provided a teacher, but enrollment is down sharply with continued violence. There are building projects, ongoing security concerns, and talks of mentoring opportunities for post-secondary education.
You can read the full newsletters here: http://www.therohifoundation.org/rohi-blog