San Jerónimo Tecuanipan is a rural village located at the north side of the volcano Popocatépetl. This gives its inhabitants the chance to exploit the banks of volcanic rock that used to cover the streets of the city Puebla. Tecuanipan is known for the production of high quality beans, but it has not brought the village a lot of economic advantage. Tecuanipan has been submerged in a high grade of marginalization. Data obtained in 2010 by the Secretary of Social Development (Mexico) show that more than 61 percent of the population lives in a highly marginalized context, a big difference with the national average of 5.3 percent. (Conapo, 2010).
Moreover, San Jerónimo Tecuanipan’s cultural context is marked by a strong migration background, mostly to the United States of America. It seems to be mostly agricultural work, construction jobs and the service sector that make people migrate internationally. (CEPAL, 2006). This explains why 50 to 75 percent of the families of Tecuanipan receive remittances from family members in the United States. These remittances allow the families to achieve a certain life quality, and may explain why they do not really believe that the investment in studying is worth the while. (Indesol, 2010).
But the intention to migrate internationally is not the only reason youngsters in Tecuanipan often not finish their studies. There are also very few well paid jobs in the region, which gives people little hope to better their future by obtaining a diploma. Therefore, they basically rule out the possibility to escape from poverty by studying. This might explain why more than 26 percent of fifteen year-olds and above in the village never finished primary school. (Conapo, 2010).
Moreover, a study of ENLACE (2011) pointed out that the competency in Spanish of more than 70 percent of the third year-students of primary school is ‘insufficient’ or ‘elementary’.
The villages that are, like Tecuanipan, situated close to the volcanic park Izta-Popo have been object to a lot of pressure from local development programs. These programs do not offer any benefit for the local people, and mostly do have a huge negative effect on the regional natural resources. The people of Tecuanipan have seen that the water pits in the neighboring community dried up. Given that it are these pits that traditionally are used to irrigate the fields, the community leaders decided to do something in order to prevent the tragedy to happen in their village too. That is why they formed the Frente de Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua (Front for the Defense of Land and Water). These members have to take decisions based on correct information, and that is why they have been consulting Casita de Barro. We provide them with information and link them to universities and organizations in the city Puebla.