Our work

We believe that school changes everything. Our vision is to achieve equitable education for indigenous students in Mexico. Our mission is to work alongside students, teachers, and parents in indigenous communities in Chiapas to design and implement evidence-based programs that improve educational outcomes.

Pathways for Change

Our work to achieve equity in education through our four programs helps bring about change in the transition from middle school to high school, fighting several of the structural causes of the inequality gap in education for youth from indigenous communities. Some of these causes are: deficient educational infrastructure, accessibility to schools, language barriers, teacher preparation and learning conditions. Having a multi-causal approach is a central part of our work, because we believe that equity is achieved with a systemic vision and in collaboration with the different actors in the education system.

Our programs bring change through:

  • Scholarships with a specific timing to help make school more affordable in carefully chosen places where we think that scholarship will be able to move the needle on drop-out rates.
  • Training for teachers in a specific pedagogy for an entrepreneurship that teaches both hard and soft skills.
  • Integrating bilingual education.
  • Making school more relevant, giving teachers better tools, to build better relationships between students and teachers withing the educational system.

Why Chiapas?

In Chiapas, the supply of public high schools is scarce, which means that students, coming from the most marginalized communities, need to walk an average of an hour by foot every day, or pay for transportation if available. On top of the long distances and the precarious learning environments, young students also deal with a life-determinant decision: continue studying or dropping out of school to work, either in subsistence farming or migrate elsewhere. These conditions explain why Chiapas is, historically, the poorest state in Mexico and has the lowest educational level in the country. As if this were not enough, during the last years, young people around the world have been impacted in a myriad of ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. For youth living in rural and indigenous areas, this has meant severe economic hardship and acute learning loss. In Chiapas, 80% of youth have grown up in poverty conditions, and their level of illiteracy is ten times higher (15%) than for youth in the country’s capital.

Our approach

To design and implement our programs we follow the principles below to guide our actions:
  1. We work alongside the public school system and build authentic relationships with the communities and schools where we work.
  2. We design evidence-based programs that are scalable and replicable with well-defined operating procedures.
  3. We design each process that involves students, parents, or teachers to be efficient and respectful of the value of their time and effort.
  4. We use data and gather feedback from students, parents, teachers and Escalera’s team members to guide decisions and improve our programs each school year.
  5. We support gender equality in education and strengthen bilingual and multicultural education through our programs. We communicate with students and families in their home language (typically tsotsil and tseltal) when that is their preference.

Our programs

Reach. 
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COBACH Emprende. 
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School Building. 
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Local Learning Units. 
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