School Flooding Remediation Project – Mexico

This is a project to remediate severe flooding at an elementary school, the Escuela Primaria “Estado de Colima, in El Male’ Chiapas, Mexico.

Mexico Map

This project is being implemented in partnership with the Sexto Sol Center, a U.S. 50(c)(3) non-profit, with a mission to contribute to the elimination of poverty and the restoration of the damaged environment by promoting cooperative enterprise, environmentally sound agriculture, appropriate technology and conservation. Since 1997 they have assisted rural people in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico and repatriated refugee communities in Guatemala.

The project is being managed by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D., Sexto Sol’s Executive Director.

The school is located in El Malé, a community that former president Vicente Fox called the poorest town in Mexico. Two-hundred eighty children receive primary instruction at the school, and, along with the teachers and staff, will be the primary beneficiaries of the project.

At 10,000 feet elevation, the people grow potatoes, that they sell in the small city of Motozintla, or raise sheep. Mean household incomes are so low that nearly every family depends on the funds sent by a relative working in the U.S. The weather is very cold most of the year with very heavy rain for months. During the coldest months wet fog covers the region.

Puddles - Mexico

Flooding is a big problem at this elevation. The long roofs send a large volume of water sheeting down all day long.

According to Tamara:

The grounds of the school has poor drainage. Huge pools of standing water form that children must walk through to get to classrooms. The playground is inundated during days of heavy rains. The walkways are permanently wet and slippery. Mold forms on the buildings, roof and ground. The volume of water splashing off the roof corroded the metal doors to the bathroom. Classrooms have wooden floors that become wet and muddy which increases the humidity. The parents’ committee has identified this problem as the most urgent need to be met.

Given the poverty of the high country region, many children wear plastic sandals instead of proper shoes and nearly all suffer significant malnutrition. Without heat in the rooms, teachers tell us that they sometimes take children outside to sit when it stops raining because it is cold and damp inside the classrooms. The cold and malnutrition combined tax the energy of small children and affect their ability to concentrate and learn.

Kids in Door - MexicoProject funds will be used to install rain gutters on the roofs of the classrooms with drainpipes leading to the street, where runoff will be channeled into a drainage ditch. These rain gutters, which comprise by far the largest project expenditure, will be custom-made to accommodate the high amount of water that falls in a typical rain.

The implementation of the project has been coordinated to take into account the growing season, and the obligations that are placed on the community during this period. This will maximize their participation.

The parents have already done landscaping to reduce flooding. They will actively participate in the project, including the digging of a channel to catch the runoff and direct it off the site.

Water Charity is extremely pleased to be able to assist Sexto Sol, an organization that has been doing, and continues to do, such beneficial work in the community. This is our first project in Mexico, and we hope this will be the beginning of a strong relationship.

To contribute for this project, please use the Donate button below.

This project has been completed. To read about the conclusion of this project, CLICK HERE.