For nearly two decades, under the umbrella of Feed the Hungry, volunteers have been teaching English to children in Los Ricos de Abajo, a poor but proud rural community outside of San Miguel de Allende. The Volunteer Teaching Program aims to support learning through instruction, tutoring, and scholarships.
When the program was established, no boy in Los Ricos had ever graduated from high school. Now many of them do. No one in the community had a university degree, but more do now. This is thanks to the scholarships provided by the program, the English classes, the library they founded, and the computer lab they funded. All students who finish sixth grade at Naciones Unidas in Los Ricos have been offered scholarships to cover fees and expenses for further education.
Feed the Hungry also sponsors a kitchen at the elementary school, Naciones Unidas, providing hot meals to 68 children every school day.
Los Ricos de Abajo is situated along the Rio Laja. During the rainy season, the river can become a raging torrent cutting off the village from access to the outside world. Just the same, these intrepid volunteer English teachers would drive over the deeply rutted dirt tracks and across the swiftly-moving river. The villagers and elementary school teachers had to walk across an old swinging suspension bridge, swim, or ride on mule carts across the river.
Now you can hear the voices of the students who describe their hopes and dreams and how the program opened their eyes to a broader world. And the voices of their volunteer English teachers who went looking for a way to contribute and found a long-lasting connection to the people of Los Ricos.
The new book, The School on the Other Side of the River: The Educational Journey of Los Ricos de Abajo, co-authored by Carolyn Wells Simsarian and Feed the Hungry’s former board member and present advisory council member Dianne Walta Hart, is now available in print and as an e-book from Amazon.com. All profits from the sale of the book go to the Los Ricos de Abajo Scholarship fund under the auspices of Feed the Hungry San Miguel.
One of the students is quoted, “I was able to count on the moral and financial support of the volunteer teachers who have come to be almost a part of my village. I thank with my heart in hand the whole group.”
One of the teachers stated, “My time with the program continues to be some of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and fun experiences of my life.”
Readers are saying the book “crosses borders,” and is “an uplifting message of hope.” Please share this link and order your copy today: The School on the Other Side of the River
Fundraising is necessary to keep the program going. To donate to the Los Ricos Fund, please write a check to Feed the Hungry San Miguel with Los Ricos in the memo line. Click here to learn where to send a check or how to donate online. Donations are tax deductible.