Earthquake Relief: Working With All Hands and Hearts to Help Rebuild Oaxaca, Mexico
On September 7, 2017, one of the most deadly earthquakes in Mexican history hit close to the southern state of Chiapas, with a devastating magnitude of 8.2. Less than 2 weeks later, on Tuesday, September 19th, 370 people died and more than 6,000 were injured after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Mexico, toppling buildings, breaking gas mains, knocking out electricity and sparking fires across Mexico City and its surrounding areas.
Several years after the devastation, many schools in Mexico are still unsafe for children to learn in, forcing many students to study in temporary learning centers. No child deserves to be forgotten about or left behind, and education should be our number one focus for the benefit of all in the future. For this reason, and to help students get back in their classrooms, my Foundation, Quiet Cove Foundation, partnered with All Hands and Hearts, a volunteer-powered non-profit that serves the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters.
Over 300 volunteers from both organizations worked around the clock to get 170 1st thru 6th grade students at Celso Muñoz Primary School in Oaxaca back in the classroom and learning by rebuilding their school from the ground up.
It took grit and a lot of hard work by all of the volunteers, but together, we were able to make it happen. When all the work was completed, we were proud to attend the unveiling ceremony and see first-hand the smiles on the children’s faces. Our work was centered around rebuilding seven classrooms, an office, and a library. We also added four additional classrooms, all to ensure that students have a safe and disaster-resilient place to learn.
All Hands and Hearts is making an impact. To date, with the help of nearly 2,000 students and 350 volunteers globally, 11 schools devastated by the earthquakes in Oaxaca have been completed. In addition to the work at Celso Muñoz Primary School, the program has also benefited the Jardin De Niños 13 De Septiembre Preschool, where volunteers repainted the playground, began rebuilding classrooms and started refurbishment on the school’s fence.
Now, thanks to the relentless efforts of so many people, these kids will not miss an opportunity to grow and thrive.
We look forward to working with All Hands and Hearts in the future, not only to rebuild schools but also to establish a safer future for their students.