Netzahualcoyotl Multilingual Primary School and Kokoyotzin Kindergarten for Indigenous Children

What big ideas and hard work can do when a community comes together.

14 years ago Marina Sanchez Hernandez started offering classes to indigenous children under a tree in their impoverished hillside community in Zihuatanejo, because they were too poor to even attend public school. Now The Netzahualcoyotl Multilingual Primary School and Kokoyotzin Kindergarten for Indigenous and Other Children educates almost 500 children in several native languages, from pre-school to high school and has already sent its first graduates on to college. The Netza project is unabashedly bold in its goals to eradicate poverty in their community through education and has brought together diverse groups of parents, tourists and community volunteers to build a school all can be proud of.


Netza News

By Lisa Martin Photos by Abby Ross

Netza school scholarship recipients and committee

Netza school scholarship recipients and committee

There’s been lots of wonderful new developments in the Zihua community with the long-term work of The Netza Project surrounding education for the region’s migrant, street, indigenous and other children, the empowerment of women through literacy and new employment options, and sustainable community development. The parents and teachers of The Netzahualcoyotl (Netza) School for Indigenous Children, now 14 years old, hosted a native food and cultural celebration, a Convivio, for long-time donors, friends, and volunteer teachers on January 30, 2009. Netza School Founder and Director Marina Sanchez Hernandez gave a short talk and shared photographs of the unique dream and history of the school, while over 30 guests enjoyed the company of teachers, parents and children to celebrate the school’s progress from a cluster of shacks, to a well-maintained facility that’s making a lasting difference to advance literacy and cultural understanding, and end poverty in thousands of lives.

Netza Project Founder, Lisa Martin, with a few of her kids

Netza Project Founder, Lisa Martin, with a few of her kids

Today this special state-certified public school is offering the Federal curriculum as well as six (!) languages (4 native, plus Spanish and English) and is educating nearly 500 of the region’s neediest children, ages 3 to 12. In a program initiated seven years ago by The Netza Project founder and executive director (Lisa Martin of Zihua and Seattle, WA), 37 students, who would not be in school otherwise, are being helped with Netza Project middle and high school scholarships – even one is now in college. Rotary International has long been a partner in this project, too, and The Netza Project (a US 501-3c) is looking ahead to partnering with Rotary and the City of Zihuatanejo on the building of two to four new kindergarten classrooms on a prepared adjacent lot. The reopening of the city’s only shelter – the Netza 40-bed dormitory – is also planned in partnership with DIF and support from private donors and businesses who give clothing, bedding, and personal care supplies.
Netza student with book

Netza student with book

“Thanks to the partnership and contributions of so many and the commitment of our teachers and parents, too, we now have one the best-run schools in the state for our people,” stated a very appreciative Marina Sanchez. Opportunities exist to volunteer teach, help with construction, or donate via The Netza Project to help with expanding the reading library, drop off learning materials, aid scholarships, women’s programs, and the kindergarten construction project. Contact Lisa Martin US cell 508-284-0078, US tel 360-697-54676, The Netza Project PO Box 10411, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. When in Mexico, Mexico cell:0440755 10-01173. Obtain more news, info or donate via PayPal on-line at

EMEC music school clears donated land, hopes for new building

by Catherine Krantz
aikeke & paino students

Aikeke Rose, director of the EMEC music school, local musician, and music professor at the Tecnologica de la Costa Grande (Zihuatanejo’s technical college), has released a new CD of Instrumental ballads called, Jahsvibes Series #1, and like all of his endeavors it is focused on promoting his passion, the EMEC. The Escuela de Música Ezequiel Cisneros (EMEC), (“Ezequiel Cisneros music school”) has been offering music and voice classes in various locations in Zihuatanejo for seven years. They have received donated land from the Zihuatanejo city government to build a permanent site and with the help of architecture students of the Technological school are in the process of surveying and clearing the land to be able to use it. In the meantime, they are now housed on Cuahutémoc street in central Zihuatanejo, across from the library. They have classes in guitar, piano, and drums for beginners, for children in grades 1 – 8, and most children provide their own instruments. They have twelve guitar students and a 20-member choir. They have ten drum students, four of them in the four to five year-old age range, and hope to build a performing drum corp.

EMEC pre-school drum student

EMEC pre-school drum student

They have ten piano students and they are trying to buy electronic, networking, teaching pianos that would allow the students to follow along with the instructor and that can be attached to a computer, they can buy seven for about 1,000 dollars or about 50 dollars each. For more information about the school, its classes and programs, or Aikeke’s new CD, contact the EMEC at Escuela de Música Ezequiel Cisneros, Cuahutémoc No. 82, Centro, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, C.P. 40880, México, Secretaria:  Tel. + 52 (755) 55-4-80-52, Email:, for the Choir:  Karina: + 52 (755) 55-4-48-56, or visit their website

Sailfest 2009 Wrap-up & por los niños news

By Lorenzo Marbut

Sounds of zihua
With the world economy in tatters, Sailfest raised a remarkable 654,320 pesos for its Mexican non-profit, Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo, A.C. Por Los Niños will continue to work in partnership with the City of Zihuatanejo and Rotary International to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in Zihua and surrounding communities.

Zihua’s finest musicians and their International Guitar Festival friends have donated their talent to produce another fabulous CD, “Sounds of Zihua 2009.” Their three CDs and four benefit concerts have netted approximately 400,000 pesos for the kids. Imagine, building classrooms with voices and guitars. What a concept! The CDs are available at these community-spirited businesses: Casa Cafe, Sunset Bar & Grill, Casa Del Faro Bar, Jungle Pizza and the Inn at Manzanillo Bay.

On March 16th, Zihuatanejo will celebrate Mexico’s newest Federally-certified bilingual, indigenous school. After an eight-year struggle for recognition, the old Nueva Creacion primary school will be reborn as La Escuela Primaria Octavio Paz, named after Mexico’s cherished Nobel Prize-winning diplomat, poet, philosopher and human rights champion. The eleven classroom school serves 320 bright-eyed young scholars and was built entirely with funds donated by Sailfest, the local community and international friends.

For more infromation on Por Los Niños, Contact: Lorenzo Marbut, home: 755-554-2115, cell: 755-102-4463,

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