Several years ago, primary students from a school in the heart of Mexico City, Instituto la Paz, applied for non-resident library cards from the Houston Public Library to gain access to resources unavailable to them locally. This started a partnership that continues to thrive and produce inspiring and powerful results! These students have taken the information they’ve gained using their MY Link cards and used it to impact leaders and politicians in Mexico and beyond.
After participating in their first National High School Model United Nations, held in New York in 2017, they were especially inspired by a speech from the Malala Fund, addressing girls’ education globally.
Once they returned home, they decided to take action locally and address the need for better education for girls in Mexico. After doing some research, they learned that one in four girls in Mexico will marry before their 18th birthday. They discovered anecdotal evidence that young girls in rural Mexico, some as young as 12, are sometimes forced into early marriage because of poverty and family pressure, robbing them of opportunities to further their education.
In partnership with GlobalMuners and the Malala Fund, these middle school students seek to change that educational inequality and have with the support of Senator Sylvia Martinez introduced a proposed amendment to legislation to the Mexican Senate to guarantee fair access to education for girls across Mexico, from the primary levels all the way through to university.
Check out this comic the students created to further explain their project!
These students have hosted film debates in the Mexican Senate to raise awareness among senators, educators and the corporate sector. This has inspired other students across Mexico to follow their example and host similar film debates to raise awareness in their own communities.
According to Neil Crawford, English director at Instituto la Paz, “Students have discovered that everything is possible if you have an open mind and are determined about your own learning process. They have refined their communication skills, allowing their confidence to blossom as they explain their research findings to heads of organizations and foundations. They have understood that by working together on a global problem and looking for solutions now they can shape the future to be a better citizen of the world."
Written by Michelle J., Central Library