JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – More than 600 public schools have fallen into disrepair since in-person classes were suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why Juarez business leaders are urging maquiladoras and other employers to “adopt” some of these schools and their students through donations.
“We’re inviting businesses to support one or more schools with school uniforms and supplies, training for teachers and advice for parents,” said Eduardo Ortiz, human resources manager for Harman de Mexico, an automotive technology company.
The program will be managed by Lazos, an international nonprofit that’s operated in Mexico for the past 24 years. Lazos volunteers will be scheduling talks primarily with maquiladora employees because those plants are the largest employer in the city, said Thor Salayandia, president of the Juarez Business Council.
“We have seen as many as 600 schools in need of repair. It’s a substantial number. We invite businesses to join this effort. Hopefully, we can start sponsoring 1,500 children,” Salayandia said.
The schools have been idle for more than a year and suffered damage ranging from leaks to peeling paint to vandalism. Salayandia said providing for needy children would be the priority, but assistance will also be provided for building repair, new paint and furniture.
Initial sponsors include Harman, Hubbell de Mexico, ProAlim and the Juarez Chamber of Industry and Manufacturing. Individual employees will also be asked to make donations of $15 per month, he said.
In-person classes are scheduled to resume on Aug. 30 in Juarez, despite misgivings by some parents and the city’s Pediatrics Association.