A Hero’s Heart for the Poor

There’s a hero among us. When he is not working with our Global Operations team, one of GCHope’s very own, Hugh Margesson, volunteers his time  to help others in Sasabe, Mexico. Four years ago, Hugh decided he wanted to further explore the Mexican/American border because of his knowledge of the extreme conditions people put themselves through to cross it. So Hugh packed up a backpack with medical supplies and first aid supplies and headed out to explore and learn.

Hugh came across a town called Sasabe that is both in the U.S. and Mexico. He was warned before entering by a American security guard that he should not leave the main street because it was a cartel-controlled city. Hugh was very interested in meeting the people that lived there in order to ask them what their lives were like, but there wasn’t anyone to be found. It was like a ghost town, he remembers. He finally met a woman named Manuella and asked her if she would tell him about Sasabe and how he might be able to help the people that live there.

Hugh also has twenty years of experience in humanitarian work on Native American reservations, and has taken his largest lesson from a book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He learned that in order to truly help a community overcome poverty, they must have ownership. They must be the ones explaining what is most needed in the community and then encouraged in whatever way needed to be able to accomplish it.

Basing his methods off of that theory, Hugh met with the educators and city officials of Sasabe to ask them what they needed and how he could be of service to them. Hugh learned that in this town of 1,500, only 300 of the people are not participants in drug trafficking circles but that those 300 are the poorest of poor. In Sasabe, most of the children enrolled in school will drop out before high school because of the poor education system. The group decided to focus their efforts on three systems that needed the most improvement: jobs, education, and healthcare.

Hugh and his new team of city leaders began a micro-lending program, granting those who wished to start a business the finances to do so, with the hopes of stimulating the economy. Knowing that wouldn’t be enough to help this community, he asked the school and the local clinic to see what types of supplies they needed.

In early March, GCHope had the privilege of sending a container of food, mattresses, furniture, school desks, clothing, books, and school supplies for the people of Sasabe. We were so proud to be able to support Hugh in this amazing mission to help these struggling people. Hugh’s heart for the poor is inspiring to us all and we can’t thank him enough for sharing his time with us at GCHope.

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