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Educating the world’s children is everyone’s responsibility.

childs face

above photos courtesy Abby Ross      

lisa in class
A New Video About Our Mission
See the Netza Video
posted by Another Day in Paradise
Slide show: Making Dreams Real

A Message from the Founder

The Netza Project is a US-501-C3 charitable corporation that has been operating since 2005 to advance international understanding, literacy, respect for indigenous languages and culture, and to help provide access to education for all children, regardless of their economics, gender, or social standing. Our principal region of operation has been North America, including the countries of Mexico, the United States, and Canada, with the aim of improving cultural understanding, friendship and peace across borders and generations.

For over a decade through dynamic multi-level local and international partnerships, our on-the- ground community work has focused in the region of Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Mexico and in several State of Guerrero mountain villages, including a remote orphanage. These projects serve many Aztec, migrant and other at-risk youth, as well as women and families often deeply stressed by poverty and cultural barriers. These young people and their families are greatly in need of encouragement to achieve their goals in education, and to preserve their languages and cultures. Their aim is to attain a better quality of life, free from poverty and its related health problems and social barriers, and to be lifted from disempowerment. Education – especially for girls – gives voice and choice, and it provides a proven avenue toward these vital objectives.

The Netza Project’s namesake and best known project site has been the Escuela Netzahualcoyotl, or “Netza” School, in south coastal Pacific Zihuatanejo; a very unique six-language public Federal school. Over fifteen years ago, it was founded under a tree for holding a picture migrant street children by educator and school director Marina Sanchez Hernandez. She is a remarkable Nahuatl indigenous woman and highly experienced school principal and teacher whose life’s work has been to advance education and opportunity for Mexico’s native and neediest children and families.

Today, the Netzahualcoyotl School is a state-certified locally sustainable public school still working hard to maintain its special charter to educate and welcome the urban migrant indigenous and multi-lingual children, and to invite any child into public school education that may wish to attend. For some, Spanish is not their first language: they speak Nahuatl, Amusgo, Tlapaneco or Mixteco at home, and thus may be at might be at risk of not attending other local Spanish-only schools. The Netza School provides a vital education choice option for hundreds of youth and families, many of whom are headed by single mothers who may also not be literate or economically empowered enough to enroll their children in other schools. The Netza staff are Federal employees, paid like other public school teachers by the government, administered at the state level in the Department of Indigenous Education in Chilpancingo. The school buildings were built in partnership with the Federal and state government and in some cases aided by resources from several Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa city mayors, over the course of 15 years. The parents maintain the school, and the land it is on was permanently deeded for the Federal purpose of education. Many visitors and volunteers have helped landscape and improve the site including international youth and adult service teams, and sailors and other friends from the Zihuatanejo charitable community.

2010 Scholarship Winners

With the help of visiting Rotarians from The Royal City Rotary Club in New Westminster. B.C., 22 Netza primary school alumni students received scholarships to help them achieve their education dreams in middle school, high school and college.

Funding for 2010-2011 scholarships is also supported by private individuals, Grace Church of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island Rotary and our Rotarian amigos in Canada.

The Netza Project, a US charitable corporation, does not manage or operate the school, however, is has been a valued local and international partner in helping create awareness of need, and to aid in partnership funding and careful custodianship of funds and resources that helped develop the school into one of the most improved schools in the region. Dozens of US and Canada Rotary Clubs, several Rotary International grants, and hundreds of schools and private donors – from England to Alaska - have all been contributors to the success of this school, which today serves several hundred children in primary school education.

The Netza Project’s mission is complete, now that the school is constructed and locally sustainable. Dozens of Netza primary school graduates have continued on into middle and high school – several, even into college. We say Muchas Gracias! to all who contributed to support these endeavors.

Thank you for your interest and passion to make a difference to the world’s children.

Lisa B. Martin, Founder
The Netza Project

peace day  

In April 2009, the entire campus along with international student volunteers from Vancouver B.C. and the U.S., gathered on the first day of spring to celebrate Netza North America Peace & Friendship Day. Over 400 letters were written by students ages 5 to 20 to the leaders of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, calling for peace and compassion across borders. An official reply from the White House was received, signed by president and Michelle Obama.

“Education is the single most powerful weapon we have to change the world.” Nelson Mandela