SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Twenty students graduated from Escuela Nueva Esperanza on Monday in Tijuana. The boys wore long-sleeve burgundy-colored shirts and black bow ties while the girls wore white blouses with black ties.
They were being promoted to high school.
But due to the lack of space, the ceremony was held on the dirt road in front of the school.
A long, 10-foot-tall wall made out of beige blocks provided shade on this 90-degree day.
“On the other side of the wall are the Amazon facilities and warehouses,” said Veronica Armenta, one of the school’s administrators.
Armenta helped organize the event and congratulated the students for overcoming many obstacles to get this far.
“These students come from some of the poorest families in Tijuana,” she said.
Two years ago, when Amazon opened the fulfillment center in Tijuana’s Colonia Nueva Esperanza, the company and the city promised to revitalize the area by providing jobs, more infrastructure and utilities to the surrounding area.
But neighbors say they are still waiting for results.
“Nothing has really happened, the only paved road in the neighborhood is the one used by Amazon trucks to go in and out of the facility,” said Armenta. “The school is made out of wood, and in some cases, wood that is rotted, and the school has no electricity.”
There are power lines that are visible throughout the neighborhood, but according to Armenta, those are meant for others, including Amazon.
“People on their own tap into those lines for electricity, but there’s no formal service, same with water,” she said.
The school relies on water deliveries and stores the water in large containers to supply bathrooms and sinks.
“We need the government to provide us with services including water,” said resident Araceli Morga. “We need this, so even more kids can attend the school, but we also need space for the school.”
Armenta believes the school thrives thanks to the resilience of the neighborhood and its residents.
“This school functions in spite of the mud, rocks, poverty and lack of attention from the city or Amazon,” she said.
The company disputes claims that it has not been a good neighbor or has failed to follow through on its promises.
In a statement, Amazon spokesman Jaime Negredo says the company has and continues to contribute to worthy causes in Tijuana.
“For Amazon, it is very important to be able to generate value and positively impact the communities where we operate and live,” said Negredo. “That’s why we partner with various organizations to support local causes and empower our employees to also give back to the local community by volunteering.
Among some of the activities that have been carried out by Amazon to support the Tijuana Community, Negerede said, are:
- Collaboration with the Tijuana Mexican Food Bank to fight malnutrition through a donation of $1 million pesos in February 2022.
- Support for the organization “Espacio Migrante”, which helps migrants and refugees.
- Donation of $120,000 pesos to the Castro Limón Foundation to support children with cancer at the Tijuana Pediatric Oncology Center in October 2022.
- Donation of 4,290 kg of food to the local Food Bank in Tijuana, contributing to the delivery of 2,145 food kits in support of 1,073 local families.
- Collaboration with “Nación Verde” in May 2023 to favor public primary and secondary schools in Tijuana through the rehabilitation of green areas.
Negredo also stated the company has generated more than 150 direct jobs with competitive salaries and multiple benefits through our fulfillment center and delivery station.