In Mexico, Children’s Day celebrates kids like Tere

This is a special story about a special girl: Tere. Tere touches the lives of those around her through her joy and kindness. She likes to help children, who, like her, face challenges whether through vision impairment or multiple disabilities. This month, on April 30th, we celebrate Children’s Day in Mexico. ​​Children’s Day is dedicated to all children and making them feel special. It is a national holiday that is unique; full of laughter and play, when adults are reminded of the importance of childhood and children teach us how joyful and simple life can be.

Tere, smiles for the camera

When Tere goes out to play in the yard of her school, she runs, jumps, and dances to the music. She always wears a contagious smile. A few of her classmates watch her in astonishment and others go behind her, trying to imitate her movements. Tere is a source of inspiration and joy.

Angela Teresa, or Tere as she is affectionately called at home and at school, is a 5-year-old girl with an intellectual disability associated with Down Syndrome. She is a student at the Special Education School CAM located in the municipality of Tecoh, Yucatan.  As part of Project Pixan, Perkins has partnered with this school and works with the teachers and children with multiple, complex disabilities.  Tere was born in this same municipality, which is located 38 km from Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán.

Tere arrived at CAM in September 2020 and joined preschool. The first few days she cried when she saw her mother leave her at school, but little by little, she got used to staying there. From those first days, she arrived with a smile. Her teacher and the educational assistants were always happy to see her. But shortly after Tere started school, the pandemic hit. Education was carried out at home, at a distance from teachers and friends. Whenever she could, Ricely Pacheco, Tere’s mom, shared with the CAM the work she had been doing with her. Ricely did a good job and could see Tere improve.

Now that the children have returned to school after the pandemic, Tere was one of the first to say yes to going back to school. Tere looks bigger and retains that spark and joy that characterizes her. 

Tere is an extrovert and loves to spend time with her classmates, she has a leadership spirit and looks everyone directly in the eye. She always wants to play with everyone and everyone wants to play with her. Tere makes everyone smile. 

Tere interacts with a teacher

In the classroom, she always watches what her teacher does and tries to imitate her. Tere likes to play at being the teacher, so sometimes she is the one who points out when the other students are not doing something correctly. She also claps her hands, dances, paints, counts, and assembles objects, and she is always looking for ways to help others. For example, she helps her classmates wash their hands; she takes their hands, puts soap on them, and rubs them. Her classmates laugh and let Tere help them. Tere also wants to help by pushing her classmates’ wheelchairs to include them in all the activities. Tere pushes the wheelchair of Allison, a girl with low vision and motor disabilities, out of the classroom to play. Tere throws the ball to her teammates and waits for them to throw it back to her. 

At home, Tere is a very affectionate and curious girl, she is always in the company of her brother Jesús, with whom she spends most of the time playing hide and seek and learning with him. Her brother Jesús tells her stories and teaches her the numbers. She fills her mom and dad with kisses. She always talks about her parents at school and she kisses their pictures. 

When Doña Ricely is asked about her daughter’s future, she says that she wants Tere to be able to express herself in more clear language. She also wants Tere to be more independent and become an autonomous adult. 

Children’s Day in Mexico is a day to make all children feel special and included. This is a day to celebrate children like Tere with multiple, complex disabilities and vision impairment. Learn more about how Perkins has reached over 34,000 children like Tere in schools across Mexico!

Perkins School for the Blind is building a sustainable, scalable model for quality education in Mexico through Project PIXAN. Perkins, with the support of local governments, is training teachers, empowering families, and engaging communities to help children with multiple, complex disabilities. Today, more than 50% of these children are out of school. By 2030, Perkins’ model school program will improve access to high quality, inclusive education in over 70 public schools across Mexico.

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