Located at Mexico’s southern border, Chiapas has consistently been ranked the country’s poorest state. Although northern Mexico has developed at an impressive rate, the south of the country has not experienced the same growth.
In the indigenous and rural communities in Chiapas that Escalera works with, families live from subsistence farming and do not earn the legal minimum wage (4.60 USD). To help their parents, students have to work and dropout of school so they can contribute to their families’ income.
From a group of 100 students who start first grade, 68 will finish 9th grade, 35 will graduate from high school and only 8 will graduate from university. The students who do not graduate from high school, do not have access to the same opportunities their high school educated counterparts have.
When students aren’t in school they are not benefitting from the learning and experiences education can provide them with. There are various benefits to spending more time in school, both professional and personal. More years of school is associated with access to better and safer employment, more opportunities in the formal sector and higher wages. Students who stay in school are less vulnerable to addiction, start families when they are ready and have healthier and more educated children. It’s a cycle and we’re driving it.