Mexico has a long history of traditional midwives working mostly in rural areas, but long lacked formal training and recognition of the profession. CASA’s got involved in 1985 when local midwives requested help to improve and expand their skills. Then, in 1994, the CASA Maternity Hospital opened, and in 1996 the first students were accepted into a state-approved training program.
Since then, more than one-hundred midwives have graduated, many of them going on to work and teach at new midwifery schools based on the CASA model in Guerrero, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos and San Luis Potosi. As well, the CASA approach has extending beyond Mexico's border to Guatemala where one school has already graduated its first group of students. As well, CASA has also developed on-line courses for obstetrical caregivers.
As of 2018, Mexican regulations governing midwifery training have changed. As a result, CASA is working on a new curriculum with the goal of launching a revised program in late 2019.
Amistad Canada also works with CASA to support literacy programs for young children. Our project helps to establish libraries in rural child-care centres and primary schools, buys books and contributes to the salary of the Library Coordinator.
Numerous studies have shown that children who develop a habit of reading at a young age are more likely to finish high school, pursue university studies and have better employment opportunities.
The main library at CASA headquarters in San Miguel de Allende has a collection of over 11,000 books, films and games, but children in rural communities have little or no access to such resources. So, in 2010, CASA started a reading program for the small communities around San Miguel. With visits on a bi-monthly basis, it included reading workshops, storytelling and the lending of books.
In 2012 this developed into a plan to establish permanent libraries in guarderias (child-care centres) and primary schools. So far, fourteen rural school libraries are open with two of them constructed and supplied with a ‘startup’ collection of books thanks to Canadian financial support and volunteer labour organized through Amistad Canada.