That is what The Sarahuaro Foundation does
BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
“If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart,” says the Arabian proverb. Abhijit Naskar is one of the world’s most famous neuroscientists and a relentless advocate of global harmony and peace. He states in his New York Times bestselling book, Humans Unite: Making A World Without Borders, that “A little help with a little smile gives meaning to human life.”
Helping those less fortunate is what the non-profit organization, Sarahuaro Foundation, has been doing for the past 15 years since it was established in 2005. Sarahuaro is dedicated to empowering and educating the Cabo San Lucas community living in the impoverished and struggling Progreso and Mesa Colorada neighborhoods. It provides education for women to become self-reliant and thereafter secure a better paid and fulfilling way to earn a living in this tourist metropolis of beautiful beaches and spectacular resort hotels. Sarahuaro offers 20 different skills and workforce courses at their Women’s Center, where 100 women are currently being provided with job training and life skills.
At the core of Sarahuaro is their belief in the power of education through which the lives of mothers and their children can benefit generations to come.
Another branch of the Sahuaro Foundation tree has been the 2013 addition of La Cocina De Los Niños (The Children’s Kitchen) which provides one healthy meal a day to 350 children per month, which is an astounding 6,000 total meals or 60,000 during a calendar year with two months off for summer vacation. ”Hungry kids simply don’t do well in school,” is a common phrase backed by recorded cases that have shown that without the right nutrients, the brain cannot develop properly, and will affect learning abilities. Malnutrition makes children more susceptible to illnesses, and hunger has been observed to cause depression, anxiety and withdrawal, all of which are a critical obstruction to a child trying to focus on education. And, who wants to study with an empty stomach? Sarahuaro has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to children who would otherwise go hungry during their decade and a half of existence.
Spearheading the Children’s Kitchen (La Cocina De Los Niños) is Program Director, Maria del Carmen Sanchez. She is responsible for overseeing the small area that helps feed 350 children and is helped by her team of 16 – 20 volunteer mothers each and every school day. Carmen took over the program in 2015 after many years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry where she received an award of distinction. Maria del Carmen has lived in Los Cabos for more than 20 years.
As simple classes in life skills and artisanal work grew into a life-changing program for women impacted by poverty, The Sarahuaro programs have brought a new sense of self-worth to hundreds of women who have benefited from these courses.
“There are several single-parent women friends I know that have improved their situations at home from what they learned at Sarahuaro. Everyone respects and appreciates what they have done and continue doing,” said Clara Godines, a local Cabo San Lucas dentist who has lived and worked in Southern Baja California for more than 20 years.
In early August, the Sarahuaro Foundation organized a team of seamstresses to provide Los Cabos with fashionable masks. A variety of prints and patterns allows anyone to possess several different masks and have that ability to change their mask “look” every day. The Sarahuaro -made masks are washable and reusable and come in two styles to accommodate the varied preferences. The Sarahuaro sewing students and graduates who produced these masks for the community did so with hard work and care and 100% of the proceeds go towards helping more mothers feed their families.
At the Sarahuaro Foundation offices and property, located at Mesa Colorada, the Sarahuaro women members and volunteers reaped the harvest from their community garden in July with produce that included celery, squash, corn, coriander, and nopales (cactus). The healthy food garden is yet another Sarahuaro project that has been embraced by everyone involved. After the harvest, with the collaboration of Psychologist Beatriz Gutiérrez, Engineer Gilberto Sandoval, Attorney Luis Felipe Gutiérrez, as well as the participation of volunteers belonging to the community, the Sarahuaro garden underwent an expansion and renovation since it has been so well received and cared for from the beginning.
Veronica Cruz and her family moved to Cabo in 2014 searching for a better life and promises of employment for her husband. She joined the beloved Sarahuaro’s community 4 years ago and has since made every effort to attend Sarahuaro human development classes and therapy sessions. Over the years, “Vero” has discovered her ability to knit, sew and embroider and she is now a part of the ”producers’ team” where her skills have improved her family’s lifestyle. “Vero” grew up in one of the many Mexico City ghettos. “I remember we ate popcorn as our only meal on many different days,” she said when discussing her poverty then and the poverty here in Cabo.
“My life has changed radically. I can now generate money doing what I do well without leaving my granddaughter unattended. I am deeply grateful to Sarahuaro. I have a new understanding of things,” added Veronica, who takes care of her 5-year-old granddaughter Emily while her daughter works and helps her 17-year-old son, who works full time and studies in high school.
Sarahuaro Executive Director, Edith Vizcarra, earned her degree from the University of Massachusetts and is a certified teacher. She brings an extensive community service background after years of volunteering with the Mexican Agency for Family Development and teaching English to children and adults in school programs. She has lived in Los Cabos since 2015 and wholeheartedly believes in the ability of all people to rise up, even during the most challenging of circumstances.
“We want to celebrate the role that education plays in helping women elevate themselves from poverty,” she said. “At Sarahuaro, we believe that with equal access to education, girls will likely have more control over their bodies and futures, leading to more productive, satisfying and healthier lives.”
For more information on how to help or donate, please visit their website, at https://sarahuaro.org