Christian Ruehmer via Crowdrise
December 26, 2010
BENEFITING: BOLIVIAN CHARITY FOUNDATION
Due to its illegal status, Ushpa-Ushpa initially lacked any infrastructure for the supply of basic utilities. To date, it still lacks plumbing, and water must be delivered to a central location within the community by trucks, and collected by families in large drums.
At the start, people lived in huts built from wood, plastic or other usable garbage. Over time, simple mud-brick homes were built, which improved the quality of life to a certain degree. Majority of the inhabitants are seasonal workers or daily laborers. On average, the 1,500 families each have 4-6 children. Parents, in comparison with developed nations, are very young and adult illiteracy is high.
The condition of health standards is poor, with most residents inflicted with pulmonary problems and diarrhea, causing frequent death among the children. Malnutrition and poor hygiene conditions are mostly at fault.
In February 2004, the Sociedad San Vicente de Paúl under the leadership of Osvaldo Castro met with Christian Ruehmer and began planning for the construction and the operation of a kindergarten in Ushpa-Ushpa. Just a few weeks later the first stone was laid. By December 2004, the first 100 children were welcomed to their new kindergarten. The building covers 4500 square feet and cost approximately $US 40,000 to construct.
In less than six months further plans were in place to expand the facilities. These plans were multi-faceted, as on the one hand we wanted to be able to help more children, yet on the other, we wanted to expand the medical facilities. The additional building was finished in the spring of 2006 and covered an additional 4000 square feet on two floors.
Following this initial progress a five-year plan was created, with the objective of assisting with the general development of the Ushpa-Ushpa community as a whole. Thanks to the excellent and generous support of our friends we were able to swiftly put our plan into play. A large school complex and a centre for advanced education were planned for a site 500 meters up the road from the kindergarten. In December 2007 the first of four construction stages was completed. Since February 2008 more than 600 pupils in grades one through nine have attended school in this new building.
The development of the project was extremely dynamic. A series of new ideas and initiatives developed within a brief period of time. We started with the construction of a school building, education for adults, a health-care station, initiatives to support the cultural development in Ushpa-Ushpa, support for Microfinance and Microenterprise, and much more.
Currently, approximately 70 teachers and staff are working to ensure the education and wellbeing of more than 600 children, a number that is continually increasing. Since its inception in 2004, the organization has been completely funded by private donors. The administrative costs of the project are minimal (below 0.5%). In the year 2008 for organizational reasons we founded our own foundation, called Proyecto Horizonte
To date, we are proud to report our success and overachievement in many areas of the project. This has been possible through the generosity, support, and passion of everyone involved. And we believe our work here has only just begun.