This weekend I am taking 33 students from ASFG to a community in Tonalá, Jalisco to build 6 TECHO homes for families in need. Wish me luck!

TECHO is a nonprofit organization that originated in Chile in 1997 to combat poverty, first by providing people with a basic shelter and later moving on to community support and development.

I first learned about TECHO when living and teaching in Barranquilla, Colombia. Students, as part of their service learning would visit the community to first interview families and eventually build the homes, along with teachers, parents and other TECHO volunteers. Many of the families who needed homes had been displaced by the long Colombian conflict, fueled by the guerrilla group, FARC.

Working together with students, parents and TECHO volunteers in Galapa, Colombia.
The team inside a newly built TECHO home in Galapa, Colombia.

When I arrived in Mexico I became a mentor for student in the AP Capstone Seminar class who was doing a case study on TECHO, and was also an active volunteer with the organization. A month and half after arriving in Mexico and I was off on a weekend adventure with four of my senior students building a house in Tlajomulco. It was an incredible experience and somehow among digging holes for the base of the house and hammering in the roof we decided to organize a TECHO Week Without Walls build.

And here we are. Three days away from the build, kids are learning the names of tools and the fine art of hammering while I’m brushing up on my First Aid skills 🙂


But I am very excited. Today, I and the other two teacher leaders, had all the students together to prep for our Week Without Walls adventure and we took a moment to think about why exactly we were doing this. We did some mind-mapping with the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Students soon realized how interconnected all these goals were and that building a home was one booster step to combatting poverty. They seemed impressed when I told them they were helping to address these global goals. This video is a great introduction to the goals and can easily be used in any social justice lesson.

At the end of the day, we will likely learn more from this volunteering experience then we can give back to the community but maybe we’re getting one step closer to achieving Goal #4: Quality Education. Who knows where that will take us?

With my rockstar students at the build in Tlajomulco, Mexico