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Posted by Future Without Poverty On January - 9 - 2013 0 Comment

In 2010 some retirees from many lands who settled on the north side of Lake Chapala had the idea to open a community Center to help the people of Tepehua, one of the poorest barrios in the City of Chapala. The Center is divided into units. Each unit has a leader. Each leader controls the volunteers of that unit. Reports to the Board of Directors are only required from each unit twice a year. Below are the programs and schedule of a typical week that have been developed in the past two years at Merrybet on



Kitchen Unit feeds up to or over 200 women and children. This is accomplished by the local Mexican women who volunteer at the center.

The young children have their own dining room, where they are also taught how to use and care of books. Then volunteers collect and return the books to the library after the meal is served.

Expat Volunteers 

The free medical and dental clinic is open at the same time, and the doctors and nurses stay until every patient leaves.  Staff includes two Mexican doctors, one retired expat dentist, and one expat hygienist.

A bazaar is located in the Center which is also open for the volunteer Mexicans to shop with vouchers they receive for volunteering. They do not pay with


Sports program for the boys. They are picked up from Tepehua and taken to a real sports field to play soccer.


Reading class for adults to improve literacy.


Counseling for the women; the registration office is also open.

The educational programs at the Center includes teaching mothers how to read, learn English, assist with the school work of the children, and during the holidays, art classes for all. The bazaar is also open so the women can buy at very low prices.

The clinic is open for two hours for women for cancer checks, family planning and other women’s health issues.


English classes are available and the registration office is open.


There is a clinic for women where one physician sees patients. Sewing and small industry classes are also offered that allow women to produce items spilleautomater elements they may sell. Women are also taught how to market their products. Reading classes are held in the afternoon for adults.

Tepehua Community Center


A major concern is to get children off the drug infested streets into organized games. Many children are involved in street dog/cock fighting , seemingly unaware of the pain they inflict on animals. A playground project is ready to be implemented but the Center lacks the necessary funds to launch it.

A program to teach the women geriatric and home/nursing home care is planned. This would be offered by registered nurses and is planned to begin in 2013. Near Lake Chapala funds are being collected for a large nursing home. Ground breaking in 2013 for the first 300-bed home is now planned. They will need nurses and nursing assistants. The plan is to start at the end of February.

A sponsorship Education program to further the education of children that excel, but cannot afford the expense of staying in school is an additional dream we hope to fulfill soon. We have sponsors and will begin to design the program in 2013.

There are many less formal programs aimed at the very young, like hygiene, the care of books, and art appreciation.


We envision that all the programs will be conducted by local Mexicans themselves, under the supervision of the Board and other main volunteer leaders.  Our hope is to have people who use the Center feel that they belong to the Center. We hope Mexicans will take responsibility and ownership of the Center.  This is happening slowly now. Even some professionals are now Mexican-Doctors, Nurses and others.  This project could be started in any barrio in Jalisco.  When you have a center for the people to socialize and get to know each other, you are creating a support system.  Poverty isolates people from their neighbors. This way, they realize that there is strength when they work together. For any financial information you would like to obtain please contact their Center. ( )


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