Caminando Unidos started as an initiative of a group of strongly evangelical and socially committed people, who take the decision to “walk united” (caminar unidos) with the hopes of establishing the new “Ahuehuetitla” community.
Since 1990, we have supported boys and girls by helping them with their school work and with different leisure and human development work shops. We built, as a community, a little library made out of cardboard and steel sheets so that we could have a space of our own to have our activities in.
By 1994 we noticed that we were dealing with some kids who had been more marginalized than the rest; they were not attending school, so we started literacy classes with them. The group grew in such a way that we had to divide the students by age into four smaller groups, each with one adult. We realized too, after working with the children, that we needed to have better nourishment and a more human-oriented and integral development space. We set out to look for financing in order to improve the social conditions of our population.
In 1995 we started craft-development workshops for members of Caminando Unidos and the general community.
In 1998 we were given permission to carry out our activities at “El Seminario Pasionista”, where we were provided with space that we adapted as classrooms. By that time, the groups were designated as initial elementary school, advanced elementary school, and literacy class. Dress making and recycled paper workshops were initiated along with the creation of the community preschool, which emerged when we realized the strong urge of our community members to look after their younger family members without being separated from the activities we give.
In 2001, mostly because of the donations we had received and the donation of the ground we had been in until then, we became a civil association.
We then started the construction of the Ann Choi Wollman – Donald Hessler Community House, which, depending on the needs we have, transforms accordingly.
During 2002 we started using “La Casa Blanca”, a venue never used by the Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación), which we peacefully occupied during the time our house was being built.
From 2003 to present day, we have been able to professionalize the activities in our house; to have a space of our own has given us the chance to better structure our activities and created a sense of belonging in the families that come here.
In 2005 we finished the first part of the investigation process that we started in 2001, an investigation that examines the conditions of life of those who come to our house. This process gave us the chance to better relate the pedagogic proposal to our children´s reality, and it also provided a closer relationship with the mothers of the community.
In 2008, after analyzing the situation, we realized that the creation of the educational space was not enough. Experience and life conditions have shown us overwhelmingly about the immutable –in appearance at least- reality our children face. We have the need to deliver a concrete, real, tangible and obtainable alternative in which we are not exposed to death, abandonment, complete lack of real hope, etc. in a world that has shown us systematically that there is no space. We believe there is space, and it has to be built.
We understand the importance of creating a community conscience, in which community members take part, and above all, to create conditions so that the young have real alternatives for the future. Therefore, in late 2008, we started to implement a change in our educational curriculum: we started basing our activities in the philosophy of Creative Transformation by John David García. This methodology is based on the evolution of mankind; it starts with prehistory and moves towards the transition between prehistory and Zapotecas. Our groups achieved a corresponding timeline in December 2010.
We are focused on the formation of ethical warriors whose values (leadership formation) start with the “Four Agreements” from Miguel Ruiz, and continue with strongly ecologically-oriented workshops due to an active interest in ecology, specifically measures that just might turn our population´s neighborhood into the first sustainable one in the midst of extreme poverty.
With these methods, in 2014 we started a group workshop with CIDEL (Centro de Investigación en Desarrollo Ético), implementing the model EUDE (www.eude.org) that involves young people between the ages of 12 and 13. This workshop is oriented to generate a larger awareness amongst the young and to provide them with the necessary tools so they can, ultimately, develop resilience.