Neighbors Abroad, the Palo Alto organization that spearheads sister city relationships, is looking to raise $10,000 to help rebuild two children's facilities that collapsed in the state of Oaxaca earlier this month during Mexico's biggest earthquake in a century.
The fundraising effort has already netted $4,000 as of Monday afternoon, said Neighbors Abroad President Bob Wenzlau, who is leading the effort. He said the money would go to two programs: a child care center that collapsed in Union Hidalgo, a town in the state of Oaxaca, and an orphanage that was destroyed by the 8.1-magnitude quake.
Wenzlau said the two projects were picked by the organization's Sister City Committee in Oaxaca and Manual Maza, the fire chief at the city of Oaxaca -- a sister city of Palo Alto -- and director of civil defense for the state of Oaxaca.
While the Sept. 7 earthquake caused very limited damage to the city, it reportedly devastated communities in the western part of the state of Oaxaca, closer to the isthmus region.
"The chief of Oaxaca said that of all the things that affected him, the one that affected him the most was the look on kids' faces when their town gets destroyed," Wenzlau said. "He wanted to focus on kids and we wanted to fund two certain areas of contributions where we can make an impact."
Wenzlau said he planned to mail the first installment of $2,000 to the Union Hidalgo center later in the day Monday. The center is run by Crecemos, an organization that provides education and nutrition services to children. Crecemos also manages and operates the Realmadrid Aerogubiños Foundation, a school that serves 127 girls and boys. According to the organization, the school has closed after all of its walls were damaged by the earthquake, which had also left four children homeless and has left others at risk of losing their homes, pending an evaluation of their structural integrity.
The goal, Wenzlau said, is to raise $5,000 for each of the two organizations.
Donations can be made at neighborsabroad.org.