At the beginning of our project, we contacted an organization called Reinserta, which works within Mexican prisons, as a way for us to learn more about the viability of our project and what the following steps to make our plan a reality should be.
Implementing an early development program meant a lot of precision and knowledge we needed to possess (due to the delicacy of the development of younger children and newborns) to have a significant impact. Accordingly, we took (up until now) more than 100 hours of courses by experts in early development. Through these classes, we learned what toddlers need in the early stages of their life and how to enhance healthy growth through interactive activities and mechanisms.
Months after a webinar given to our school community, months of searching, and several meetings with lawyers, we contacted the penitentiary system. Then, we were able to pitch our project and plan to the most populated Mexican State Director of Social Reintegration. That same day, in April of 2021, we received permission to begin our program.
However, we again struggled because the authorities we had previously received authorization from cut off all communication for the following several months. As a result, we had to postpone our visit to the prison of Santiguito, when contact was re-established after great insistence and when the global pandemic became less acute.
However, we did not stop working. In preparation for these lessons, we began creating a lesson plan and making the materials for the workshops. We attended virtual and face-to-face classes with one of the experts we had been working with to make sure we had a solid plan to be prepared to give the lessons ourselves.
Additionally, on October 4th, 2021, our team launched a campaign in our school community to collect feminine sanitary pads for women in the Mexican prison of Santiaguito and neighboring prisons in Estado de México. Access to tampons and pads for those incarcerated is a right, yet unfortunately, not a privilege; if they don’t receive sanitary products from family on occasional visits, they are deprived of this sanitation. Providing a basic need such as this one transforms these women’s lives and, consequently, their children’s. The goal was to collect 1,000 pads, but multiple videos, community effort, and nearly two months later, we received the incredible and abundant donation of 14,365 sanitary pads personally delivered to the Estado de México penitentiary system on December 6th, 2021.
Now, in April 2022, we have finally begun to teach our program through classes to the mothers and children inside prison.