Lockdown in México: a new challenge for kids affected by the 2017 earthquake

Date 18.05.2020

In México too, the fear of the spread of COVID-19 has led authorities to take preventive measures and restrictions, including school closures (since March 20) and the suspension of non-essential activities.

The lockdown has increased the struggles of families, especially for the population of the Oaxaca region, who are still grappling with the consequences of the September 2017 earthquake (which caused more than 100 casualties and damage to 122.733 dwellings) and in particular in the area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where AVSI is committed to develop educational and cultural programmes for the post-earthquake reconstruction.

For a second time, after just three years, children and teenagers are facing an emergency. Physical isolation and lack of school are putting a strain on the emotional stability of the children. It had hardly been restored in the last three years, in the course of which dozens of them found themselves without their homes, without school and had to face the loss of their parents' jobs and, in some cases, the loss of friends and relatives.

For them, AVSI's staff has been implementing “Fortalecimiento educativo” for months, an educational program dedicated to 100 children, co-funded by Enel Cuore Onlus and the Distance Support Program project (Sostegno a distanza) . It offers students of secondary schools (of first and second degree) theoretical and practical scientific studies, with a particular focus on environmental issues (from the mitigation of the impact of climate change to sustainable energy). Before schools had closed, one of the topics covered by the conferences organized by AVSI was that of viruses and bacteria. On that occasion there already was talk of Coronavirus and of the prevention measures that had to be followed to avoid its spread.

Since the suspension of school activities on March 20 classes have been held remotely online. Children who cannot connect to them or do not have a computer (20%) are supported by AVSI through WhatsApp groups, thanks to which helping the kids with their homework continues to be possible. These virtual spaces are also the place where information about preventive measures can be spread and, above all, where the doubts and fears felt by the children can be shared.

"AVSI's virtual support is a novelty" - says Rossana Stanchi, of AVSI Mexico - "it allows us to assist the children closely in their study and to give them the psychosocial support they need, not to feel alone. It’s also an opportunity to introduce them to a new way of working and for them to be confronted by what will probably be their professional future”.