La Morita, Tijuana, Mexico
Since 1996 the Oblates of the San Eugenio de Mazenod Mission have been ministering to thousands of the more than 300,000 men, women and children who live in the Colonia La Morita and surrounding areas, on the outer edge of the city of Tijuana.
These persons come from all over Mexico expecting to find plentiful jobs and a better standard of living. Many end up in jobs at the maquiladoras (assembly plants) or remain unemployed because the opportunities for work are limited and the conditions of the work frequently not favorable. They struggle to meet their most immediate needs, frequently falling behind and not having access to even basic services.
The Oblate Mission provides them with some of those services. A complex known as Casa San Eugenio houses the medical and dental clinic on the ground floor level and educational programs in the basement. Besides the medical and dental services, the clinic also offers psychological and psychiatric services.
The Community Center, in the lower level of the building, offers programs for children with special needs, various education and training programs (i.e., tutoring, primary and secondary level education for adults, GED programs, manual arts, English and computer skills), and a microcredit project for local women.
As importantly, San Eugenio Mission gives these people hope, offering them the Good News of Jesus Christ …
in the form of evangelization programs, retreats, sacraments, catechesis and other religious activities.
A special program: Giving Hope to Special Kids
This program came into existence in 2009, to provide a space for children that have certain disabilities given that:
- the majority of them are not accepted by regular institutions,
- their parents cannot afford to take the children to specialized schools because; (a) those schools are far away and taking the children to them cost money, food, and time and (b) the high demand for a place in those schools results in long waiting lists, many time more than one year of wait.
The Program intends to:
- meet the education needs of these children and youth and providing them with a better quality of life, as well as a space for their integral development, and
- provide a service to the community and the extended area.
The programs offered are:
- school education at the pre-school and first grade level, two different groups,
- psychological therapies, and
- occupational therapies: “Seeds of God Garden.”
During the current school year, close to 30 children receive school education. This number will increase in the coming years thanks to the construction of a larger building and the purchase of a minibus that will transport children from the outskirts to the mission to and from the school
Currently, San Eugenio Mission is raising a new building to house the program for Children with Special Needs. The Missionary Oblate Partnership has supported this program from the beginning, with the launching of the program itself, as well as the new building and the funding to purchase the minibus. The Partnership works very closely with the San Eugenio Mission, providing funding-related advice and support for all its programs and projects.