INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Public Library and the Mexican consulate in Indianapolis are stepping up to the plate to help address an education gap for Hispanic men and women in the area.
“We know that there is a need in the Latino community in order to finish their basic education,” said Cristina Gaza at the Consulate of Mexico in Indianapolis.
That’s why the Mexican consulate in Indianapolis, in collaboration with the Indianapolis Public Library, is launching a program called Plaza Comunitaria or Community Plaza in Marion County. The program aims to help Spanish-speaking Hoosiers finish their elementary and middle school education.
According to Gaza, about 26,000 Spanish-speaking Hoosiers of all kinds of nationalities in Marion County who could benefit from these services.
“We know some of these people; they left their countries without finishing either primary or secondary school,” said Gaza.
The free program will be taught completely in Spanish, and students will use computer labs at the Haughville library branch. Gaza says students will learn at their own pace depending on their time and availability. They say many of these immigrants can’t finish their primary school education because they’re focusing on bringing food to the table.
“Most of the people start working very early because they need to feed their families and they need to help their parents,” said Gaza, “So, they start working and they just don’t have any more time.”
“Maybe there wasn’t a school to continue their education wherever the part of Mexico that they’re from,” said Indianapolis Public Library immigrant and refugee program specialist Claudia Montes Salinas.
The Mexican consulate says this program could help the students find new job opportunities and much more. Overall, they’re hopeful this program will make a positive impact for years to come.
“I hope that this program last years and that we could have lots of graduates,” said Gaza.
The Indianapolis Public Library says classes are expected to start in the fall of this year. Anyone who is looking to enroll in the Plaza Comunitaria program is encouraged to contact Claudia Montes Salinas at email@example.com.