Down in southern Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, the city of Comitán has a population of over 166,000 people. It is part of the Chiapas state, a rural and indigenous region that is historically one of the most deprived areas in the country.
With half of the population living in poverty, children often lack access to health services, social security and education. Its economy is based on tourism, agriculture and mining, meaning Comitán is vulnerable to environmental threats and freshwater is often inaccessible.
Since 1994, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Comitán.
In Comitán, and other southern states in Mexico, around 2% of children have never been to school. These children between the ages of 9 and 12, have never had access to any education.
This is twice the national average. It highlights the inequality of wealth distribution and local resources between the north, centre and south of Mexico.
If children and young people do not receive even the most basic education, it will be hard for them to make a living in the future. More needs to be done to support families so that children can go to school.
In Comitán and other southern states in Mexico, only 18% of young people have a higher education. Once again, the situation is worse in Comitán – across the country, 22% of young people have attended higher education.
Rural areas are most affected, with a 10 % national average, while 26 % of young people in urban zones get to access that level of higher education.
Illiteracy statistics reflect this situation: 9 % of the Comitán population over 15 years old cannot read or write.