Children of infamous former drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman helped build a makeshift school near the Mexican city of Culiacan for families who lack access to online classes during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite El Chapo’s children following in their father’s illegal cartel footsteps, they contacted Esmeralda Quinonez, a community leader in the Bicentennial Extension, inquiring about what was needed most in the area and how they could put up a makeshift school in just days.
“Thank God, the children of El Chapo heard about the situation here and showed solidarity,” Quinonez said.
Many children in the impoverished neighborhood stopped studying altogether when schools closed because of the pandemic. Many families often rely on what parents earn from working on the vast landfill nearby, and live in homes with no internet connection or an outlet that would allow their children to follow online and televised classes being broadcast by Mexican authorities during the pandemic. With the new school, these children will have access to the resources they need to get an education during these trying times.
“The idea is that children can learn while their parents are working in the landfill, and that they do not worry about food either, so this has motivated dozens of parents to send their children to this temporary school,” Quinonez said.
Between 70 and 90 children from different educational levels can now follow classes- either through watching television or over the internet- at the site, where they are supported by volunteer teachers. The school is also equipped with study and teaching materials, books as well as television sets, computers and internet. Uniforms and shoes are being provided as well.
Juan Alfonso Mejia, the state’s education minister who visited the school last week, says that “the relevant authorities will have to find out who equipped the school.” But he lauded the community’s efforts at the school, saying “it was incredible work that they are doing” during a difficult time in the middle of a pandemic.