Mobilizing a community to action in the slums of Mexico
Mexico City is among the world’s largest cities, with 25 million inhabitants. The cultural, political, economic and intellectual center of the Mexican Republic, the city holds much wealth. Yet domestic violence, poverty, systemic injustice and spiritual emptiness cripple the God-given potential of hundreds of thousands of families living in Mexico City slums. Their plight cries out to heaven. According to Operation World, "Christian ministry to slum dwellers in Mexico City is fraught with difficulty and challenge. Few are prepared to commit themselves to it."
Conexion Mosaico (our Servant Partners Mexico site) is currently focusing on two low-income municipalities on the outskirts of Mexico City which together boasts 1.5 million people. Roughly half of them are slum dwellers who live in substandard housing, over 80% of them employed in the informal sector and often without secure land tenure and in desperate economic conditions. As such, these neighboring municipalities are considered among the largest slums of Latin America. Over half of the families are disintegrated due to migration patterns and domestic violence. About 60% of women suffer from domestic abuse, adding to the viciousness of the poverty cycle. Civic participation in Chimalhuacan runs very low and where citizens get organized they are quickly co-opted by political interests. Most churches, too, offer too little to address the deep-seated hopelessness, structural injustice and rampant needs present in many urban slums.
Mexico City Site Video
Conexion Mosaico’s mission is to transform urban slums by equipping the urban poor to become change agents in their own communities, while inspiring people in other social classes to confront the crisis of their city. To that end we have three overarching goals:
- Create reproducing missional faith communities
- Create self-sustaining community-based organizations and businesses
- Create broad-based coalitions that promote and establish healthier systemic realities.
How do we do this? A key approach we use to further our vision and mission is by incarnationally living among the urban poor, sharing life and practicing hospitality. Since we believe that poverty is deeply relational, we realize that our identification with those we seek to serve is important. So we’ve intentionally decided to infiltrate the communities in which we work, in order to infect our neighbors with hope and a vision for change. Our life among the poor also allows us to become effective bridge builders between the poor and those who would never set a foot into an urban slum. Incarnational living, all by itself however, won’t produce transformation.
That’s why we’re in the business of creating a change model for holistic urban transformation. A reproducible model that equips people, churches and communities to become change agents who get involved in reducing poverty, violence and corruption and help build cities where God’s Kingdom is more visible. To that end we engage in a number of efforts, which we pilot, document and then systematize:
- plant reproducing missional faith communities
- equip faith communities to holistically serve their neighborhoods
- increase citizen participation by engaging in community organizing and development
- engage in business creation and economic development
- promote public health and environmental upgrading
- accompany people through psycho-spiritual counseling, inner healing and emotional recovery processes
- develop and coach children, youth and adults to become servant leaders
- provide sports, recreation and life skills training for children and youth
- provide capacity building, training and consulting to other organizations and churches
- do networking and coalition building between civil society-business-government
- create relational bridges between the poor and the non-poor
- engage in advocacy on a municipal and state level
Our multinational team has been working towards pursuing this multi-pronged intervention strategy for the past five years. Our desire is that over time this change model can be adapted, reproduced and multiplied by other organizations, churches, ministry teams and social actors in Mexico City and beyond so that many more slum dwellers can experience life as God intended it to be. It’s a big job. That’s why we need you!
If you want to know more, and would like to find out how you can get involved please visit our website at www.conexiomosaico.net or email us at email@example.com or download the following documents: