On a thin strip of land that rests on the shores of Lake Chapala, in Jalisco, Mexico, you will find one of the oldest indigenous peoples in the world. The Coca people lived happily and peacefully for centuries until a storm of industrialization reached the heart of their economy and culture in a way they never thought possible.
What Would You Do?
Imagine yourself as the eldest child in a home of five children. Your mother and father left for work at 3:30 am to travel the distance necessary to get to their factory to work for the entire day. They will only return home by about 9:30 or 10:00 pm. At eight years old, you have to find a way to care for all of your siblings for the day, including preparing meals for and feeding them (infants included). However, there is one enormous catch: you live in extreme poverty with little to no access to fresh food and water, and you have no knowledge of or way to cook food. What can you do?
These very circumstances have led to the largest generation of unsupervised and neglected children to date in the heart of this ancient country. What’s more, neglect and malnutrition are the leading cause of Kidney Disease in children in this region of Mexico. They suffer from the highest number of cases per capita in the world. About 40% of them are currently suffering from the disease or have precursory markers for the disease. The solution for this disease is simple: feeding children so they do not go hungry and without the vital nutrients that the brain and body need to sustain a happy and healthy soul.
Steps to a Solution
These children, numbering in the hundreds, would all grow up without food, clean water, and adult contact, but Cocina Para Niños had another idea. This group of like-minded, passion-driven servants simply could not look the other way and set out on a mission to begin supplying these children with daily meals that are healthy and fresh. In addition, they have a mobile library that visits the groups to which their food gets delivered to help inspire young people to learn and to want to continue with their formal education.
But they didn’t stop at feeding and educating children; they went even further. With help through initial donations, they secured a parcel of land where healthy food can be grown and a warehouse for housing supplies and stores of harvested crops. They have also started a community garden and are teaching people how to begin growing their own food again, the way they once did. So they did not just put a bandaid on the situation; they devised a plan to see this cause through to a sustainable solution.
Cocina Para Niños truly has a mission that comes straight from the heart, and that’s why we identified with their cause deeply. While we focus our mission on the orphanage in Guatemala, we want to help this lovely group of people who are truly working to reinstill faith and a sense of community and self-sufficiency in this great lineage of people who have suffered at the hands of western industrialization.
While the efforts by Cocina Para Niños have been massively impactful and life changing for hundreds of people, they are not the only ones who have undertaken the enormous responsibility of meeting the needs of this indigenous population. Over the decades, many groups with the same heart of service have stepped up to support the betterment of the lives of these incredible people. We are grateful for all of the support and ongoing efforts by the many different agencies and those who have joined in the mission to expand the restoration of life through these humanitarian causes.
What You Can Do
There is another piece to this puzzle…treating those who are already suffering from kidney disease as a result of these conditions. We have had four people from this community step forth and who have committed themselves to attend nursing school so that they may return to their people and serve the medical needs of these children who have already suffered so much. But one obstacle initially stood in the way: the cost of their tuition.
While Work Play Love has already allocated funds for these four visionaries’ tuition and ongoing education, we still need help to gain future donations that will offset these costs to help us meet our responsibility for the girl’s orphanage that we support in Guatemala. Because we have been so successful in helping aid the orphanage, it’s now time to start putting our focus on the needs of other underserved populations in compromised environments or circumstances so they have a chance to learn what it feels like to triumph as they overcome severe challenges.
A Forward Focus
At Work Play Love, we have also been looking at the possibility of building another orphanage on this land in the Lake Chapala area to support these excellent and heartful people who have so much wisdom to share with the world were their needs not focused solely on survival.
Now is your chance to help us make a huge difference in the lives of so many children who suffer mainly because of an industry that supports the average way of life in the U.S. While we understand that none of us ever set out to intentionally harm anyone or any population, our consumer culture has truly caused an unforeseen ripple effect throughout some of the most poverty-stricken communities in the world. We aim to support those who are trying to restore balance to these populations.
Whether you are ardently mindful of your consumption and footprint or not, it’s time to start thinking about the global implications of the average way of life in our country. We can start by making a gesture of goodwill to try to repair some of the damage that has ensued.
Now is the time to make a difference and help us support not only a worthy cause but an essential cause. We can get there together. Become a supporter of our mission at Work Play Love today!