Manos Unidas

The needs in Manos Unidas

For many parents, they must focus on the daily struggle to survive, meaning that education for their children often isn't a priority. Many have little education themselves, and don't understand how they can support their children's education at home. Further compounding this problem, school conditions and the quality of teaching that students receive are poor. Teachers lack the training and resources necessary to properly engage and motivate students. Without encouragement and resources, children do not perform well academically, and many drop out of school entirely.

Health Care
Almost half of children in Manos Unidas suffer from some degree of malnutrition. A diet made up largely of carbohydrates, which is common here, lacks nutrients from vegetables, fruit, and protein. Many families do not have enough food year round. Poor sanitation and lack of sewage infrastructure leads to polluted rivers and contaminated water. Illnesses are common, and it doesn't help that many families aren't well informed about hygiene and household sanitation. If fact, many still keep their animals inside the house.

Community Leadership
Youth have little reason to hope for a good future beyond the traditional lives they see. With little to do, and little to look forward to, alcoholism, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and suicide are increasingly common.

Economic Development
Families here are farmers. Whether they grow corn and beans for their own meals, or work low wage positions on coffee or banana plantations, agriculture is the main source of income. There are few alternatives to earn a living, as well as few alternatives to traditional crops, and people continue practicing the traditional farming methods they know best. Soil fertility in the area is poor, and declining. Much of the land has long been deforested, so the soil is eroded. As a result, crop yields and income from agriculture are low, especially in the wake of declining coffee prices. High unemployment, especially during the growing season, causes many families, and especially their men, to move to bigger cities in search of work.
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Manos Unidas's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

Manos Unidas y Esperanza para Todos is quite a long name for this Mexican community. That name, however, which means “hands united and hope for all, speaks volumes about the community's expectations for transformation.

The community, which goes by Manos Unidas for short, is located in one of the poorest regions of Mexico, and most families are indigenous Zoque. The landscape in the area ranges from tropical savannah to evergreen forests. Many of the houses are made of wood with roofs built out of plastic sheets that are often damaged in high winds.

Families here are usually farmers, growing corn and beans for their own consumption. Some work as labourers on large coffee plantations. The culture is generally very traditional and paternalistic. Many women speak only Zoque, and rarely read or write. Children have little say in any area of their lives.
  • 1,194 individuals learned about child rights and protection issues to help ensure children's safety and participation
  • 448 young people are leading or attending child parliaments to advocate for their rights and influence local decisions
  • 11 child parliaments are empowering young people to advocate for their rights and participate in community decisions
  • 23 survivors of violence received support to help them cope with the trauma and recover
  • 1 child with disabilities was supported with medical care and accessibility upgrades
  • 783 children and youth are improving their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities like clubs and camps
  • 7 clubs are in place for children and youth to improve their learning through tutoring and extracurricular activities
  • 553 children and youth were trained in essential life skills such as critical thinking, self-esteem and communication
  • 187 parents and caregivers learned about the importance of education and how to support their child’s learning
  • 32 teachers and volunteers learned child-friendly teaching methods to improve the quality of education for children
  • 177 individuals including children are better equipped to protect themselves from disasters and respond to emergencies
  • 22 community groups are teaching children and families to prevent disasters and protect themselves in times of crisis
  • 13 malnourished children were enrolled in nutritional programs and monitored to ensure they are growing healthy
  • 14 women were counselled on how to properly care for themselves and their babies during and after pregnancy
  • 894 people including children learned to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
  • 625 children were vaccinated to protect themselves against preventable diseases
  • 60 health workers and volunteers were trained to provide quality health services, especially for women and children
  • 510 children and adults received nutritious fruits and vegetables grown in community, school or family gardens
  • 102 gardens are in place to help families, community groups or schools provide nutritious food for children
  • 20 farm animals were distributed to families, providing a better means to take care of their children
To ensure children can access and benefit from quality education, World Vision will assist the community to:
  • Help parents see the value of an education for their children.
  • Teach parents how to support their children's academic endeavours at home.
  • Supply schools with improved teaching supplies and equipment.
  • Enhance teachers' understanding of how to help children learn reading, math, and science through play.
  • Train parents, teachers, and community committees to manage educational resources and continue improving conditions in education.

Health Care
With the partnership of Canadian sponsors and the community, World Vision will work to:
  • Teach women about healthcare and nutrition during pregnancy, and help them to get pre- and postnatal care.
  • Train health volunteers in nutrition, personal hygiene, household sanitation, and the management of common illnesses.
  • Work with health volunteers to teach parents practical ways to protect and improve children's health.
  • Partner with families to build sanitation facilities.
  • Provide supplements for children and pregnant women with anemia.
  • Monitor children's health to treat and prevent malnutrition, and ensure vaccination and timely healthcare.

Community Leadership
Through partnership with children, families, and sponsors, World Vision will work with the community to:
  • Help parents see the importance of education to the future of their older children.
  • Establish youth groups where teens can learn about their rights, receive training and support to express themselves, and participate in the development of their community.
  • Train teens and youth in areas such as addiction prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and teen pregnancy.

Economic Development
To ensure parents in Manos Unidas can provide for their families, World Vision will partner with the community to:
  • Provide training in various trades, as well as in resource management and entrepreneurship.
Mexico Earthquake: Updates and facts you need to know

Mexico experienced a strong earthquake on September 7 at 11:49 p.m. The Richter scale recorded it as 8.5, making this the largest quake to affect the country since 1985.

With your sponsored child in Mexico, we want to keep you updated on the impact of the earthquake and how World Vision is responding.

As of now:
  • World Vision Mexico has 7,300 children located in the impact region. Field offices continue to monitor the communities where we work
  • A Tsunami Alert is in effect on the Pacific coasts of Mexico
  • The death toll stands at 15
  • Power blackouts have affected parts of the city. Schools have been closed
  • All staff and their families have been accounted for and are safe
World Vision will continue to monitor earthquake damage as well as the Tsunami Alert. Staff on the ground in Mexico are prepositioning emergency supplies for communities.

For the most up to date information, visit, or call us at 1-888-524-1112.

Explore Manos Unidas

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Manos Unidas, Mexico is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.