ITAM students working in support of the Mexican countryside

“Taking part in Enlace Rural is one of life’s most gratifying experiences, full of learning opportunities and harmony. We wake up and walk more than an hour to arrive to a house. We learn a little about the family’s daily chores: shelling the corn, digging a furrow, sowing, making holes in the ground to plant trees, weeding, making tortillas, and cooking. We teach classes in the elementary and middle school. In the afternoon, we participate in afterschool activities with the kids and the adults. Every day is tiring but extremely gratifying because of the powerful connection we make with the community members and even more so because our motivation to work together as a team to improve conditions in the community.”
Antonio Vázquez Pérez, CEO of Enlace Rural

Enlace Rural is a social program and a Servicio Social (internship) program for ITAM students, created in 2009 by Agustín García, an ITAM alumnus, to meet the need for establishing a connection between the Mexican countryside and university students.

alumnos itam enlace rural

Its goal is to promote awareness among our students about what life in the countryside is and to encourage their participation in the development of the communities. Every semester, 10 teams are sent to the communities of Plomosas, Benito Juárez and Magdalena in the State of Hidalgo. Furthermore, a summer program of 10 days in the community, namely Contact Phase, is organized in which they perform daily chores in the community, live together with the community members and develop three microprojects: TFE, CAMINANDO, FAP.

TFE: Educational Awareness Workshop is directed toward the development of children. Its goal is to provide activities so that the children will learn to live in their community and learn values. ITAM students will also teach standard elementary level classes at the same time, mainly in Spanish and Mathematics.

FAP: Production Activities Promotion encourages each community’s development. It focuses on four areas: legality and well being, communication, sales, and production. The brand of tea “ConscienTé” was recently created through this microproject. It consists of a cooperative of teas from Hidalgo’s rural communities. Its members are in charge of managing the cooperative with advice from ITAM students.

Caminando: This microproject consists of giving classes to adults who want to finish their elementary, junior high, or high school education. In addition, ITAM students provide consulting to teenagers who are searching for high school or university. The inspiration for its name “Caminando” (“Walking”) came from the following phrase of the author Eduardo Galeano: “Utopia is on the horizon. Walk two steps and she moves two steps away and the horizon is ten steps beyond it. What is utopia good for? For walking, of course.”

Currently, Enlace has more than 80 volunteers consisting of ITAM undergraduate students which are recruited each semester. After a lot of hard work, Enlace Rural has recently become a civil association. This will further boost its work since it will be able to receive donations in a few months.

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