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September 2020

Dear Friends and Sponsors,

             I hope you are safe and healthy and that Covid-19 has not had a personal impact on you or your families.  I want to update you on the situation at Yashalum as we head into a new school year.  In my last update, I wrote that on March 20, schools in Mexico closed and all classes went online.  I’m happy to report that Yashalum students weathered the storm.  While many activities had to be postponed or cancelled, classes were completed, and some important activities continued.

            In May, annual end-of year meetings were held with parents to evaluate student progress, participation, behavior and community service.  This evaluation is very important as it helps determine which students will continue to receive scholarship support.

            Much student community service is done at their dormitories and in their home communities.  This is an abbreviated list to give you an idea of the kind of work that went on throughout the summer:

  • Training workshops were held in two communities to allow residents to explore issues of community environmental problems;
  • Construction got underway on a carpentry workshop at Casa Santa Maria;
  • Stove-making workshops were given to women in several communities;
  • Two communities underwent an evaluation of their water systems;
  • Proposals were sent to the Pau Solidarite Foundation in Valencia, Spain, requesting funding for construction of a community shelter, materials to build water systems in 5 communities, a childcare center at Casa Santa Maria and water treatment materials for Rancho Santiago Apostol.
  • Funding was requested (and received) from local agencies to assist with some of these projects.  In all, the folks at Yashalum received a total of 32,215 pesos (or about $1485 American) to help offset costs;
  • Coffee cultivation remains important and time-consuming work at both Casa Santa Maria and Rancho Santiago Apostol.  A proposal is being prepared to submit to the Inter-American Fund for assistance with coffee cultivation;
  • Program administration continues to keep records current, prepare monthly budgets and administer scholarship funds.

            On August 24, Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education announced that distance classes would begin.  The plan is for each state and municipality to gradually return to normal classroom settings as the situation in each location improves.

 The Yashalum Board of Directors agreed to accept students who want to return to their dormitories, so that they can access internet, computer, and study spaces

For the 2021-22 school year program - which runs August-July - Yashalum has accepted 32 university students and 33 high school students into the program.

            None of this would be possible without your help.  As always, we are grateful and very appreciative of your support.


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