Happy Hearts Fund and ING Partner to Improve Education in Mexico

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Rebuilding Children's Lives After Natural Disasters

The Happy Hearts Fund (HHF) team visited Mexico this month for the grand opening of the Arcadio Zentella Elementary School that was affected by the 2007 flooding of the state of Tabasco.

The joint venture initiative was announced at a press conference which was immediately followed by the HHF and ING teams traveling to the “Arcadio Zentella” School for a touching ceremony where Phil Caputo, Executive Director of HHF; Olga Nemcova, Director of Operations of HHF; Carlos Muriel, President of ING for Latin America and Xavier de Uriarte, Director of ING revealed the plaque that marked the beginning of operations of the school’s new location. They were accompanied by the Governor of the State, Andrés Granier Melo and over 800 people including the director of the school, teachers, students and community members of the Ranchería El Río in Jalpa de Méndez.

The Sustainable Schools Program in Mexico was initiated to develop educational projects and improve the conditions for children living in zones of limited resources. This program will benefit more than 230 children studying at the “Arcadio Zentella” School, which was severely damaged by the floods in 2007 and was declared unsafe by authorities. This program has unconditional support from teachers, directors and children’s parents, as well as the Secretary of Public Education of the State of Tabasco and the Citizen Council for the Reconstruction of Tabasco. The “Arcadio Zentella” School has seven classrooms, a civic square and sanitary services. Following our blueprint of bringing technology to our schools, a state-of-the art media room and computer lab was installed and equipped with projector screen to allow for distance learning and 20 HP computers with internet access.

To provide for the ongoing maintenance needs of the school, the joint venture, in collaboration with the community, conducted a feasibility study. With significant community involvement and input, a study by the Pan-American Institute of High Direction of Companies (IPADE) determined the sale of bottled water to be the appropriate business for this market.

The JV has plans for the sustainable business to begin operations in June and to expand and grow our work in Mexico, rebuilding more schools impacted by natural disasters and establishing technology and sustainability components to help not only the children but the whole community.

About Happy Hearts Fund:
Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), founded by Petra Nemcova in 2005, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s lives through educational and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas. HHF has directly helped children in several post-disaster areas and remains active in 8 countries. Since inception our programs have benefited more than 31,000 children and 334,000 community members. HHF is committed to help accomplish the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). HHF receives specific donations to underwrite all administrative and fundraising expenses, allowing all public donations to support the programs. For more information about HHF, visit http://www.happyheartsfund.org.

Media Contact: Arlene Putterman (arlene(at)happyheartsfund(dot)org)

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Arlene Putterman

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