My name is Aundraya Martinez and I am studying Politics with a minor in Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of San Francisco. This summer, through the Foundation for Sustainable Development, I have had the opportunity to intern for a non-profit organization called, Centro Integral Warmi located in Cochabamba, Bolivia. For over thirty years, Warmi (which means “Women” in Quechua), has responded to the community needs of the Pacata neighborhood of the city by providing jobs to women of the community, low-cost childcare, after-school educational programs, and family workshops. The organization has developed a preventative approach to combatting the cycle of poverty by collaborating with parents to create and maintain a positive environment for children and families to thrive.
In 2010, Warmi opened a second site called Thikay Wasi (“Blooming House” in Quechua), in the Tiquipaya region of Cochabamba, which has 120 students currently enrolled. Tiquipaya is a rural area where common challenges include: lack of employment opportunities, child abandonment, alcoholism, domestic violence, family disintegration, overcrowded housing, poor access to healthy food, and lack of access to health services. Given these communal challenges, the children of Tiquipaya are often confronted with barriers to educational success. One such barrier is the limited access to books, dictionaries, maps and a space dedicated to reading, writing, and sharing ideas, all of which are essential for fostering educational and personal growth.
After many conversations with the Warmi community of directors, educators, psychologists, and parents, we believe the development of a small library space within the Thikay Wasi site will be a valuable community resource for the children and families of Thikay Wasi and the surrounding neighborhood. The addition of the Thikay Wasi Library will further supplement the educational programs of Warmi by providing a space for leisurely reading, school research, and community meetings and workshops. In the next month, staff, parents & families of the Warmi community, the students, and I are dedicated to making this library a reality.
How Can You Help?
With over 60 books and a bookshelf already donated, the project is on track, but we could use more support! The educators at Warmi Thikay Wasi have created a detailed list of recommended educational books and resources to be purchased for the library, the children have expressed interest in painting a mural in their new space, the library would also require seating and two more bookshelves. Additional costs include the labeling materials for the books, school supplies, and additional workshop materials. Any amount you can give to this cause is greatly appreciated and here is an idea of how far your donation can go (prices verified by locals):
1 Primary School Textbook: 75 Bolivianos = $10.85
1 Leisurely Reading Novel: 35 Bolivianos = $5.07
1 Bookshelf: 1000 Bolivianos = $144.77
10 Packs of Markers/Color Pencils/Crayons: 150 Bolivianos = $21.71