Mexico City Grand Tour: Learn and Dream in Museums

Mexico City Grand Tour

New ways of learning, rekindle a passion for knowledge

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many children in Mexico faced disruptions to their education, which made it difficult for them to maintain an enthusiasm for learning. Between 2020 and 2022, ATD Fourth World Mexico developed a variety of projects to support the schooling of children in the Mesa Los Hornos neighborhood of Mexico City. In this neighborhood a Street Library had been running since 2013. Against this backdrop, the “Mexico City Grand Tour: Learn and Dream in Museums” project was launched.

The “Mexico City Grand Tour: Learn and Dream in Museums” aimed to rekindle a passion for knowledge and offer new learning opportunities by giving a group of 15 secondary school students a cultural tour through Mexico City’s fascinating museums.

The project, funded by the General Delegation of Quebec in Mexico, began in November 2022. A team of ATD Fourth World members joined a group of young people who were facing challenges at school, to discover some of Mexico City’s most emblematic sites.

Together, the young people and ATD Fourth World members visited science, art, anthropology, and history museums, as well as parks, restaurants, woods, and neighborhoods.

Exploring the world around us

Each month, the group chooses a different place to visit. Each trip inspired both the students and the adults to explore the world around them differently. As they developed their self-awareness through art, technology, and history, they discovered that asking questions, seeking answers, and discovering new things could be fun.

In addition to these forays into history and culture, they also discovered the joy of building friendships and sharing the thrill of venturing through new streets and museum corridors. Through laughter, long chats, and fresh discoveries, they came up with new ideas and grew more aware of their connection to the wider world.

The young people each took a Travelog on their outings. This served as a personal record of their discoveries and assisted them in documenting their experiences. It also served as a means to evaluate their achievements and redefine their goals.

A transformational experience

The museum visits brought about an extraordinary transformation, as Montse Campos, one of the ATD Fourth World members who coordinated the project, explains:

”This project has given us all great satisfaction. It has been transformative and has rekindled a love of learning for all the young people who had trouble staying motivated after the pandemic. Through our exploration of the city, we forged strong relationships which became the foundations for exchanging ideas, playing, laughing, and learning from each other. This learning process has also made them more aware of their strengths and achievements. We hope each young person will remember the power and growth that comes from a shared experience, and we hope they will be guided by curiosity and a thirst for adventure.”

Children and youth in poverty are often excluded from meaningful educational opportunities and navigate school tasks and grades without experiencing meaningful learning. They encounter a great disconnect between the school curriculum offered to them and the world they know. The project has bridged this learning gap, introducing different ways to learn and inspiring participants to see the wonder in life and in learning new things. It has also encouraged them to continue their learning journeys, as well as their desire to progress in school.

Finally, as with all journeys, this great journey through their very own Mexico City has opened new doors for them. The young people have been given the chance to live beyond the confines of their neighborhood, surpassing the limitations that extreme poverty has tried to put on them.

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