Volunteering with Armonia to help the poor (Mexico)
Armonia has set up a self supporting school for children with special needs, runs three community centres in Mexico City, holds annual clinics in remote indigenous villages and runs the AIMS programme to help villagers gain a secondary education.
Naomi Wood (2011, English)
Last summer, at the end of my gap year, I set out to Mexico to volunteer for a month with Armonia, an organization working with the poor in Mexico. It was an amazing month, in which I met many incredible people and learnt a great deal. On hearing that I was planning on returning to Mexico this year, several of my friends expressed surprise that I did not want to 'do' a new country instead of returning to a place I had already visited. But for me, my time with Armonia was special because of the relationships I had built and the vision of the organization, both of which I was keen, and continue to be keen, to support.
The charity was begun 30 years ago by Saul and Pilar Cruz, a Mexican couple who were doing extremely well in the pharmaceutical business. But as they saw the poverty of many living in their country, they realized that the demands of their Christian faith meant they were unable to ignore the problem they saw. They sold their house and cars and went to live in the populous city of Oaxaca, based in the southern mountains in which many of the indigenous people of Mexico live. Since that time, Armonia has set up a now self supporting school for children with special needs, runs three community centres in Mexico City, holds annual clinics in the remote indigenous villages of Oaxaca and, at the centre of the vision for the organization, runs the AIMS programme. The Armonia Indigenous Mexican Students programme helps academically able students from indigenous villages to gain a secondary and then university education, who would otherwise have been unable to continue education past the age of 14...... Read more