Rotary Club of Bishops Stortford
Home | The Oaxaca Street Children
Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots was founded by Jodi and Harold Bauman.
Harold and Jodi Bauman first visited Oaxaca, Mexico on vacation. They were charmed by the city's intricate architecture and the dramatic landscape, but disturbed to see young children, clearly living in poverty, selling trinkets and candy in the streets day and night. They feared that these children would never be able to break out of poverty's vicious cycle without an education. Wanting to do something, Jodi and Harold started by sponsoring individual children, helping them enroll in school and paying for school supplies and uniforms. They persuaded others to do the same, and in 1996, the Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots child sponsorship program was created.
By the end of 1997, 148 children had found sponsors with the help of "Grassroots". This number climbed to 190 by the end of 1998, and to 230 by the end of 1999. Today over five hundred children and adolescents have international sponsors (or "Godparents") through the auspices of the organization.
Jodi and Harold moved to Oaxaca and chartered a sister organization, El Centro de Esperanza Infantil (the Center of Hope for Children). In addition to their child sponsorship program, the Center also has a children's soup kitchen and a volunteer nurse. Sadly Jodi and Harold passed away some years ago but the work they started continues and is growing almost daily.
The Rotary Club of Bishop's Stortford first became involved with the Oaxaca project in 2000, following a visit to the city by Rtn. Peter Scarlett. Two years later it was taken up as a club international project when Peter and Rtn. Brian Edwards walked the 200 miles across Scotland from Milngavie (near Glasgow) to Inverness and in so doing, with the help of members and an education trust, raised £10,500 towards the fitting out of a new building that the Centre of Hope had moved into.
Some 650 children attend the centre for breakfast each day before going to school. Each child's education is sponsored by donors. Peter, and his wife Kath, have been sponsoring a young girl, Blanca, for the past 10 years. She has just finished her secondary education and will be going to university at the beginning of 2011 to study nursing. The sponsorship will continue during that time.
In 2003 members of the Interact Club of The Bishop's Stortford High School spent two weeks working in the centre with the children and contributed hugely whilst there.
To learn more about this wonderful project go to to their web site: http://www.oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org/
Read their latest newsletter May 2012
"Service above Self"