- This week we’re focusing on Cumbres, a Corazón community located in Tijuana, Mexico.
- 50% of families shared that their greatest need is in assistance for their children’s education.
- Participants share how losing their job and leaving university affected their mental health.
- Community members explain why 2020 felt like a missed opportunity.
- Finally, Cumbres members share some of their thoughts about hope, family, change, and new opportunities.
A committee member from the community shares their introduction of Cumbres with you today.
Cumbres started about 28 years ago. With a lot of effort and dedication from our families, and of course from our dear sponsors, we have gradually moved forward. When Cumbres started, there were only a few families, but we desired to improve our lives. Our sponsors helped us build our first house of many that have been made so far.
Little by little more families - including youth alone - are joining Corazón to move forward and fight for our dreams. Hundreds of houses have been built throughout the years, and in those houses lies hope for a better life. It is beautiful to see how Cumbres has improved so much in family and community.
We’ve seen our children grow up and become excellent young adults who move ahead as graduates to fulfill their goals. Even the older adults from our community’s nursery have seen our children grow up. They’ve shown our children love and support when their parents had to leave for work. Ultimately, our students are our pride of Corazón.
Among other things, Corazón has given us the tools to move forward in life. Today, our community unites during the good, and the bad, and Cumbres serves as an example that unity is strength.
Our community continues to change for the better. We are proud to be working with Corazón sponsors as a part of Cumbres.
Of the families who participated in our community survey, 60% experienced a decrease in their income.
Figure 1. Income differences within Cumbres survey participants between 2019 and 2020.
When asked what they needed the most assistance with, Cumbres participants responded by saying that they needed the most help in affording their children’s educational needs (50% of families). 20% of participants shared that they needed help affording food, and 10% shared that they needed help paying bills.
Changes in Employment
Of the participants who answered our community survey, 35% shared that they started working or studying from home, 25% shared that they lost their job due to the pandemic, 20% indicated that they were working reduced hours, and 10% shared that they needed to leave their job to take care of a family member.
Cumbres saw a significant shift in employment due to the pandemic. Over 40% of participants were studying full-time, and 10% of older participants worked on their own. Occupations changed after COVID-19 reached Mexico, and according to the participants, this affected their mental health.
“No estaba preparado económicamente/ I was not financially prepared”, shared one participant. According to the Washington Post, wages in Mexico are $123.22 pesos a day, or $6.85 USD. While a wage increase may help with certain costs, it is certainly not enough to fully cover bills, everyday living expenses or set a family’s mind at ease. The participant reflected on their financial situation through their community’s needs, “[Me senti] triste por no tener la manera de ayudar a otras personas y ver a muchos jovenes depresivos a causa de este situacion / [I felt] sad because I didn’t have the means to help other people and to see our youth feel depressed because of this situation [the pandemic]”, they said.
Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash
One student shared that they had to leave their university because they couldn’t meet the institution’s costs. “Salir de mi otra universidad / Leaving my other university” was a troubling event. According to El Universal, 8.8 million students in Mexico from ages 3 to 29 years old were forced to drop out of the 2020-2021 school year because they either needed income, needed to work, or because of the pandemic (Migueles & Moreno, 2021).
The consensus, however, was that 2020 felt like a missed opportunity.
Cumbres participants share their thoughts on 2020.
It takes bravery and strength to share vulnerable moments with others. Community members from Cumbres share some of their thoughts with you today.
Q: We may be afraid to feel hopeful at times, but the hope of seeing better days for ourselves or our families can be a force that helps us to continue living during difficult times. What brought you hope this year (2021), or what may be your hope?
A: I received hope from people around me who weren’t even close to my family. I never expected to receive help from them.
A: I was accepted by the university I wanted to attend! This brought me so much joy!!
A: I hope that my parents can continue moving forward despite the circumstances. If they can then I believe that I can too.
A: I find hope in knowing that better things are on the way and that anything is possible.
A: … New opportunities.
Q: Do you feel like you learned something new about yourself this past year? Do you feel a difference between the “you” of last year compared to the “you” of right now?
A: I’ve learned that I sometimes take time to adapt to change, nevertheless I know that I can overcome challenging circumstances thrown my way. With perseverance and determination, I can achieve everything set before me in life.
A: I learned how important it is to value the time I have with my family.
A: How to love myself.
Interested in donating to programs that support Corazón students in Cumbres and our other Corazón communities?
Donate to Corazón Scholarships Today!
This concludes our 2020-21 COVID-19 Impact story on Cumbres. In the coming weeks, we will be covering the Flores Magon community. Please look forward to our story soon.
Follow us on social media!
Migueles, R., & Moreno, T. (2021, March 24). Por Covid y pobreza, 9 millones de alumnos dejan la escuela. El Universal. https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/cartera/por-covid-y-pobreza-9-millones-de-alumnos-dejan-la-escuela
Sheridan, M. D. B. A. (2020, January 2). Mexico is giving millions of workers a historic pay increase. But will it have much effect? Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/mexico-is-giving-millions-of-workers-a-historic-pay-increase-but-will-it-have-much-effect/2020/01/01/9f18db56-28d4-11ea-9cc9-e19cfbc87e51_story.html