Our Stories

Keeping Shareny connected to learning

As any student across the Christel House world can tell you, nothing went as planned the last few semesters. There is no playbook for living through a pandemic, and public health emergencies disproportionately affect underserved communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has also greatly impacted education, a sector dependent on the ability of large groups to congregate. Throughout our eight schools in five countries, students have found themselves experiencing different permutations of in-person, hybrid, and remote learning. Christel House Mexico City students (CHMX) have not yet returned to in-person learning, but students like Shareny still feel the support of their Christel House community—even at a safe distance.

The CHMX community in particular has experienced hardships during the pandemic. Nearly 90% of CHMX families suffered job loss or reduction in income during the pandemic,and many students had to enter the workforce to help their families. We always say that Christel House provides more than just your typical education. Over the past fourteen months, Christel House provided nutritious meals even while school was closed. But more importantly, access to tools to participate in remote learning provided a sense of normalcy throughout the pandemic for students. This meant that virtual learning actually led to a connection to the outside world for CHMX students like Shareny, a third-year secondary school student.

Shareny lives in Downtown, the vibrant city center of Mexico City. Access had never been a problem for Shareny—she lives a short walk away from Zócalo, the main plaza, and she used to take the subway to school. But when school went remote, she faced a huge obstacle. Since she had no computer at home and limited internet, Shareny could not attend virtual school. But Christel House supporters who contributed to the Bridge the Digital Divide fund last year directly helped Shareny. “Since I didn’t have the necessary material to continue with the classes online, Christel House helped me a lot by giving me a computer and internet to continue taking classes,” she said. 

Community is at the heart of Shareny’s Christel House experience. She told us, “The thing that I really like about Christel House is past time with my classmates and all the support that they give us.” Despite the challenges of the pandemic, CHMX has had many achievements this past year. Public universities in Mexico are notoriously competitive, but five CHMX Class of 2020 graduates were accepted to Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and eight more were accepted to engineering school. Recently, te American Society of Mexico (AMSOC) recognized CHMX for “outstanding humanitarian contribution to the community during the year of 2020.” Despite all the challenges, CHMX students are succeeding and thriving in the new normal. 

A few months ago, CHMX Executive Director Javier Alarcón Benet said, “This is part of our DNA—helping our families.” The success of CHMX students is directly tied to the support our donors give them through fundraisers such as the Bridge the Digital Divide campaign and the Christel House Walk Around the World. 

This spring, we invite you to become part of the extended Christel House family. Be fit, have fun, and walk with students like Shareny by registering or making a gift today.

Make a gift or register: https://www.charityfootprints.com/cf_website/eventdetails?id=643

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