María Elena is the grandmother of Jorgy, 10, and Jayr, 12. Both, Jorgy and Jayr are mentally disabled. Maria Elena adopted Jayr when he was 2 years old from a young mother who, herself, was mentally disabled.
The young mother was brought to Maria Elena’s home by her son who found her in the streets of Mexico City begging. Maria Elena explained to us that once she arrived, she refused to leave. After some time, Maria Elena’s son fathered the woman’s second son Jorgy. Soon after Jorgy’s birth, his father was assaulted and killed, leaving Maria Elena and her husband with the responsibility of the two young children.
Maria Elena’s husband, now retired from a warehouse job, is the sole provider for the family of four, but the money he is able to provide monthly is barely enough to take the two kids to school. For that reason, Maria Elena has to wait for her grandchildren outside the school every day for 6 hours as she does not have enough money to make the one hour and a half round trip twice daily. Some days, she doesn’t have enough money to get lunch for herself while she waits.
Maria Elena explained that it is essential to cover the cost of transportation, food, medicine, and horse therapy for her grandchildren. Zapatos Rotos also hopes to help Maria Elena sell her knitted products - an initiative she has undertaken with a group of women also waiting for their children during the school day.