Community preschool, San Antonio Castillo Velasco, Mexico

Pre-school education for better chances in life

Although Mexico is one of the largest economies in the world, yet half of the population lives in poverty. Although preschooling is mandatory in Mexican Constitution, only 40 percent of the 10.7 million kids between three and five attend preschool. It is a fact, that offering preschool education is the key to progress.

In 1986, teacher Luz Elena together with theologian “Toño” Antonio Gonzalez founded the “Teamoatzin” pre-school in Bario Norte, a densly populated neighborhood in western Mexico City. Constructing and financing have been paid by Rose Marie Griebel, Gerhard Kruip and their supporting group of friends. The student’s families where only asked to pay a token fee.

In 2000, the small community of Ocotlán (south of Oaxaca) has provided some ground for a new educational center. Ourdays, more than 100 pupils are studying here; in addition, their parents are attending some workshops. The educational project is led by eight female teachers who are teaching their pupils according to the principles of Montessori and Paolo Freire´s “pedagogy of liberation”. Intense parental work accompanies the learning with the children. The issues are education, health care and the community’s social commitment.

This project is also supported by Rose Marie Griebel and Gerhard Kuip, as well as the Hahnair Foundation. In 2014, Nico Gomsen, Hahnair Foundation’s trustee, met Luz Elena and Antonio González. He was impressed by the preschool’s work in Ocotlán and offered to support another community preschool. The Hahnair Foundation only required, that the new school had to run economically self-sufficient under self-management.

The new pre-school was established in San Antonio Castillo Velasco, an indigenious town with 8.000 inhabitons, nearby Ocotlán. Together with a highliy enthusiastic ecclesian communitythe project has been realized with the “Arquitectos Artesanos” thanks to the generous financing of Hahnair Foundation and the caring management of Luz Elena and accountand Romero. “Nihulani II” opened its doors to 35 pupils in 2023 on August 28. “We now child development and learning, we understand what it means to live process. We realize that we are flexible, adaptable, capable, supportive and responsible: We live equity”, said Luz Elena about herself and the team of coordinators.