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. http://www.netzaproject.org

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, info@netzaproject.org. 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 http://www.netzaproject.org

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