by Michele Kinnon (Sept. 2013)
The MEXICO Report announced the "2013 Real Heroes of Mexico" awardees, showcasing 30 profiles of those making a difference in Mexico. The Real Heroes of Mexico project was created in 2012 by Susie Albin-Najera, the creator and editor of The MEXICO Report, an internationally recognized blog showcasing all the positive, inspirational stories taking place in Mexico every day. The project was launched in order to showcase the true champions of Mexico, the unsung heroes in the community, and those celebrating Mexican culture through their goodwill efforts, bravery, inspirational stories, sacrifices and hard work. From fundraising and creating healthy eating programs to education and healing the sick in rural communities, this one-of-a-kind effort celebrates acts of kindness, achievements and dedication.
"The nominees that came through this year were phenomenal again and their stories never cease to amaze," said creator of the project Susie Albin-Najera. "It's truly rewarding to be able to bring these stories to life and this project allows for others to learn about and celebrate their outstanding efforts and the work they are doing. These are the real heroes and champions of Mexico."
A team of nine Ambassadors helped nominate the heroes, along with the general public. The nominations came in from all throughout Mexico including Baja California, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Merida, San Cristobal de las Casas and everywhere in between.Nominations also came in from the U.S., Canada, and even London, connecting countries and communities alike.
One of the "Real Heroes" selected for recognition this year is the Riviera Maya's own Claudia MuŮoz Bono. What follows is Claudia's write up in this year's book, submitted by yours truly.
"I first met Claudia a few years ago, when we were both volunteering for Angel Notion in Playa del Carmen. During the event we were working on she told me about some of the projects she had been managing independently, including organizing and conducting weekly diabetes testing clinics in Chemuyil, a very small village located about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, for at risk members of the community. She was raising funds for the testing equipment, doing the testing and providing diabetes education essentially on her own. More recently, I found out that she is instrumental in a new NGO called Fundacion TAO, a civil association based on the Riviera Maya, organized to provide education, health care and training to the community. The members of this group and their supporters focus on social welfare, the preservation of Maya culture and community, and the preservation of our delicate jungle and ocean ecosystems. Working with TAO, Claudia has dedicated herself to improving the social and ecological conditions of the less fortunate communities on the Riviera Maya, especially our considerable Maya community. Claudia is committed to creating opportunities for local families to develop and share skills and resources in order to create healthier, stronger communities, where equality, empowerment and opportunity are common rather than out of the ordinary."