Mexico: Daniel's New Shoes
By Juan Carlos Millán
Buckner Mexico Director
Daniel turned 12 in February, and his life has not been easy. He was born in a village in the mountains of Oaxaca where the main activity is farming and people live in extreme poverty. His mother didn’t have the money to provide for him, so she left Daniel with his grandparents from a young age and rarely visited him.
When he was 10 his mother came for him and told him she was taking him to Mexico City to live with his new family. He was very happy about the idea of having a family, but he did not imagine what would happen to him next.
His mother didn’t send him to school. Instead, she made him go to the parks each day to sell candy and bring home money so that she and Daniel’s younger siblings could buy food. He had to spend most of the morning and afternoon each day in a park, convincing people to buy sweets and begging for food.
Daniel said that if he didn’t give his mother all the money he earned or he didn’t sell enough candy by the end of the day, she would insult him, beat him with whatever she could find and make him go without supper. His lunch and dinner at home was a glass of milk and some bread or tortillas.
One day some college students approached Daniel and upon learning about this situation, they brought a case against his mother. The department of child defense decided Daniel would be happier living in a foster group home.
Daniel’s smile when he saw the Buckner Mexico Pan de Vida home near Mexico City was unforgettable. He was so excited to receive new clothes and shoes, because he had only ever had used clothes and shoes in the past.
Now, he is in a school program to help him catch up with the school he missed while he worked on the streets. He gets good grades; he can speak Mixteco, an indigenous language; and he wants to join the military when he grows up. Buckner has not only sheltered Daniel’s feet, but his life and his heart.
You can help provide new shoes to children around the world like Daniel by hosting a shoe drive in your community, joining the Birthday Club, or donating online (a $25 gift provides one pair to a child in need!).