I am an intern with a non-profit organinization called Fundación Pro-Habitat which strives to improve quality of life for impoverished communities throughout Bolivia. I am leading a project in San Silvestre, a semi-urban community of the large city Cochabamba. The neighborhood has extremely insufficient infrastructure and utlities and lacks a daycare or school within several kilometers. Members of the community and I have designed a plan to combat some of the root causes of poverty in the area.
In an effort to avoid paternalism and further dependency, the plan focuses on self-sustainability to provide the people of San Silveste with the means to help themselves and increase possibilities for the next generation. We will construct a simple building that will house a free daycare and education center. The daycare will allow many parents to pursue employment who currently must stay home to take care of their children, and with the expertise of staff from Fundación Pro-Habitat the center will also host educational workshops. During the day, two community members will supervise about 20 young children at the daycare while the parents can pursue and keep jobs that they were not able to previously. In the evenings, the building will be used for capacitation workshops focused on skills to increase the marketability of adults while homework assistance and materials will be available for San Silvestre's students. A board of directors consisting of five elected members of the community will assume leadership for the project and will be my main points of contact when I have to leave Bolivia.
The daycare and education center will be completely staffed by community volunteers enabling it to be 100% free. Also, all manual labor for construction and maintenance will be from community volunteers which will cut costs considerably. I have signed commitments from 18 people who will work in the daycare, meaning that each volunteer will work roughly one shift every two weeks. Also I have signed commitments from 34 workers who will contribute to manual labor, and 12 additional volunteer advisors who have previous construction experience. The Fundación Pro-Habitat Technical Educator has commited to provide capacitation workshops every two weeks, or more frecuently according to community demand.
Funds are needed for raw building materials and basic supplies for the daycare/education center. We have already done some preliminary work (laying the building's foundation) using part of a small grant I acquired to help the project, yet to establish the center at least $2000 is required. After the center is up and running, any long-term maintainence costs will be covered using the San Silvestre Community Fund, a shared pool of money collected and administered by the existing San Silvestre governing board. Although it currently holds just a small quantity of money, the monthly family contribution will be increased slightly (contingent on community vote) to reflect the expected increase in employment levels in the community.
Thank you for your collaboration
All individuals who make a contribution of any amount to this project will receive a personal thank you message from myself as well as periodic updates on the project and the community.