Telchac Education, which entered its fourth year in the fall of 2012, is an education program which helps finance the education of 62 poor but promising students in the fishing village of Telchac Puerto, Yucatán (pop. 2700). Although all public schools in Mexico are free, each student must provide all of his/her own school supplies, uniforms and, in many cases, teaching aids, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, drinking water and contributions to the school library!  Obviously, this all adds up, and to many families these are extraordinary expenses meaning most children aren’t financially able to go beyond sixth grade, giving them very limited futures and few, if any, opportunities to escape the cycle of poverty.

This private program is a gift of “things” (backpacks, school supplies, uniforms) and not of money (which could be spent on other basic necessities or liquor) from the sponsors – snowbirds, ex-pats and locals – and is NOT a Mexican government program. We stress that the program is a reward to promising students – not charity – and that each student in the program has earned it with their good grades.

The students must follow these rules in order to continue to receive their annual help:

(1) maintain an average GPA of at least 8.0 and provide us with copies of their report cards each time they receive them during the year.

(2) write a thank you letter to their padrinos (sponsors) which we translate, mailing the sponsor the letters in both languages.

Every peso (or dollar) a sponsor donates to a specific child goes directly to that student. Pictures, envelopes, and postage do not come out of his/her account. And, we have no electricity, phone, gasoline, or salary expenses.

If you are not prepared to commit to a student, you might consider an “open fund donation” which we use to get the teachers’ supplies and for special cases.

Each child who has a sponsor receives: A brand-new backpack, ALL their school supplies – notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, pencil box, scissors, 100 sheets of white bond paper, a calculator (scientific or basic), dictionary, geometry set, liquid paper, glue sticks, USB stick (secondary school/prepa), etc., plus 3  uniform blouses/shirts, 2 pairs of pants or skirts, school shoes, 3 pairs of socks, a hoodie, gym uniform and a Christmas/winter present – a book and game, educational toy or sports equipment.

How much it costs per year per student:

Primary school (grades 2 – 6)   $145 USD

Secondary school (grades 7 – 9)  $175 USD

Prepa (grades 10 -12) $225 USD

University  $1,200 USD

There are similiar programs in Chuburná, Progreso, Chicxulub and Cholul. To contact a coordinator and participate in a program in the village of your choice, contact:

[email protected] (62 students),

[email protected] in Chuburnaá (68 students)

[email protected] in Progreso (73 students)

www.educateyucatan.org in Cholul (66 students)

[email protected]  in Chicxulub

Read more about donating and volunteering in Yucatán.