About the Project
Rural indigenous youth in Mexico increasingly migrate to urban areas for economic reasons, often ending up in urban slums. Young people who choose -or are forced by a lack of opportunity- to migrate away from traditional lands often face double discrimination as both migrants and as indigenous people. At urban schools they face discrimination and violence because they speak an indigenous language. They are three times more likely to drop out.
Puerta Joven is an organization that promotes intercultural education based on the belief that culture and where you come from define who you are, while access to education and technology define where you can go to. The project began operating in seven Mexico City public schools in 2008, guided by an analysis of rates of violence, bullying and school dropout among the population of indigenous youth. It has been replicated in seven states in Mexico, and has been expanded to Guatemala, serving a total of more than 12,250 young people. The aim is to build school environments that support respect for cultural diversity and offer an intercultural education that keeps indigenous youth in basic education longer. At schools where the project has been implemented, the dropout rate has been reduced by 67 percent and absenteeism has dropped to 12 percent, from 84 percent before the program.