We have an extensive list of completed projects.
Building fish farms in the high Andean communities of Chaullacocha, Chupani and WacaWasi
One of the basic necessities of high altitude communities is satisfying the protein intake of their daily diet, as potato is the only crop that will grow at such altitudes. Due to the fact that a common natural resource in the communities of Chaullacocha y Chupani is water, it was possible to introduce an alternative animal breeding activity to resolve this problem. ProPeru designed and installed trout farms in the communities of Chuallacocha and Chupani in January 2005 and during March 2005 with The White Mountain School. These two farms are mutually supporting in neighbouring communites. One built in a lake and suitable for breeding young trout, and the other in the existing river, suitable for more mature fish. After the success of these two projects, ProPeru built a third farm in the community of WacaWasi during September 2005 with semester students.
In both cases, the supplemental protein provided by trout is important in improving the daily nutritional intake of community members and providing an additional source of economic income for some families. Part of the development project in all three communities was constructing of a house where community members would stay on a rotational basis, during which they are responsible for the maintenance and daily upkeep of the farm. These houses were built in the traditional Inca style (round with trapezoidal windows) and have the additional advantage that the communities can use them for potential eco-tourism projects.
Installation of over 1500 clean burning stoves throughout the Sacred Valley
In many of the high-altitude communities in the Sacred Valley, food is prepared over an open fire in the home. Ventilation usually consists of a hole in the roof for the smoke to escape. This however, is not a very efficient way to avoid smoke filled living conditions. The result is a very unhealthy atmosphere for people to be cooking and living in because improper ventilation leads to a host of respiratory illnesses as well as eye maladies. In addition, much of the wood used to fuel the fire is from native trees which are rapidly decreasing in number. The cleaner burning stove project is the implementation of a stove that provides proper ventilation and burns wood more efficiently.
With the assistance of Rotary Club International, ProPeru has installed cleaner burning stoves in the communities of Chicon, Wakawasi, Yanahuara, Huayocarri, San Juan, Chichubamba, Huaynaccolcca, Pumahuanca, Ccotohuincho, Huaran, Cequerec, and Urquillos. With the additional fundraising efforts and economic donations of some volunteers, ProPeru has extended the stoves project even further. In 2006, stoves were installed in Tancaq, Pachar, Soccma Marcurai, Yanaconas, Mahuaypampa, Cooper, Valle de Chosica, Umaspampa and Piri. These economic donations have also permitted the evolution and cost reduction of the stove project.
In December 2006 ProPeru met with several governmental and non-governmental entities and is in the process of researching the possibility of taking this important project nationwide.
Construction of a kindergarten in the community of Pacor Majon
The ProPeru fall semester group 2005 built a complete school room, and furnished it with desk and chairs. Although the community of Pacor had an existing primary school, all pre-school children in the community were being educated in a tiny, partially underground room where the students used planks of wood placed over old paint cans as desks and chairs. The new kindergarten was built beside the existing school, in order that they could share facilities such as bathrooms and sinks. Semester volunteers were involved in the construction of the building from start to finish, and ProPeru also furnished the kindergarten with a full set of desks and chairs suitable for young children.
Construction of a complete irrigation system in Raqchi.
The community of Raqchi in the Sacred Valley is reliant on agriculture to feed families, and give the community a small source of income. Unfortunately during the 8 months a year when it hardly ever rains it is almost impossible for them to grow anything. Two ProPeru semester groups participated in a large scale irrigation project with the community. The Spring 2005 group were involved in the building of a reservoir and capitation system bring water from a nearby source. After this initial part of the project was completed the Fall 2005 semester group were involved in the building of three pipelines taking the captured water to various areas of fields.
The large reservoir captures water all night from the source, making it available to irrigate the fields during the next day. The pipelines end in pressure sprinklers that allow proper irrigation of the fields. In this way the community can dramatically increase their agricultural output.
Construction of nursery school in the town of Yanacones
ProPeru constructed a small nursery school in the town of Yanacones approximately a 30 minute walk up the canyon towards the chicon glacier from Urubamba. The community solicited help because they were struggling to pay rent on a smaller building in the area. The school serves approximately 25 children who come from several neighboring communities. Construction only began after community members had put in over 800 man hours to remove boulders and trees and flatten the community terrain that was to be used. The project was inaugurated in late August 2004 by a group of ProPeru volunteers and the local community members. In addition to labor the community collaborated with the purchase of cement and plaster.
Construction of nursery school in the town of Quillahuamanpata
After working with local officials from the Department of Education, ProPeru decided to use extra funding to build a small nursery in the Quechua village of Quillahuamanpata in the altiplano between Urubamba and Cusco. The school was put together piecemeal between June and August 2004. The dimension of 4.5 meters X 3.5 meters is sufficient for the 13 children who study there. Before its construction a small dirt floored room with no windows had been used. In July a group of nearly 35 volunteers assisted community members by installing the door and windows, putting in 2 skylights to allow for more light and taking on the laborious job of flattening the ground in front of the school so that it could be used as a play area. At the inauguration volunteers took part in the catching, killing and cooking of 15 guinea pigs (cuys) for the feast.
Ccotowincho Primary School
Prior to the completion of this project in one of the poorer districts of Urubamba, approximately 150 children from grades 1-5 were all housed in only three classrooms in cramped and difficult studying conditions. A ProPeru Group Program in May of 2002 built three additional classrooms which not only gave the children more space but also allowed room to increase the schools services to a 6th grade for the upcoming year which previously could not have been provided. In July of 2002, ProPeru volunteers initiated and completed the construction of a school library. In actuality today, the school and library construction is benefiting 217 students.
Chichubamba Primary School
Before 2001, the Chichubamba school was housing 1-6 grade in 2 classrooms and the Director’s office. The school space was not acceptable for providing instruction for 100 children. Therefore, in 2001 ProPeru volunteers in collaboration with the community constructed an additional third classroom of considerable size to facilitate a more comfortable and appropriate learning environment. Since 2001, ProPeru has continued to provide assistance to the Chichubamba Primary School through the following development efforts: electrification of the school, installation of public bathrooms, school furniture and teaching materials, repainting of the full facility, high school scholarship program, NGO placement of ProPeru education volunteers, health campaigns, and art workshops.
Rumichaka Nursery School
This project was completed in 2001 to provide a preschool for children in the locality. Before the construction, children in the community were attending the pre school in another district, Ccotohuicho, which was on average a 45 minute walk for the children. The school is situated next to the Church and provides a service for 25 children. An exciting aspect of this school is the reinforcement of the native language in the daily educational activities of the children.
Palcaraqui Nursery School
The current ProPeru NGO base is located at the entrance to the community of Palcaraqui. Since June of 2005, ProPeru has financed various school infrastructure improvements such as the provision of public bathrooms, exterior painting, classroom furniture, and a school security wall. In addition ProPeru education volunteers lead and participate in the instruction of physical education or recreation classes as well as environmental education classes with the children. Today, there are 58 students that have and continue to benefit from ProPeru’s support.
In May 2006 ProPeru returned to the Palcaraqui Nursery School with 30 volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh to construct an additional classroom. The extra space allows for an office for the school’s staff in addition to a larger and better lit area for a whole class. The community contributed skilled labor and adobes while ProPeru and UPitt provided the finishing touches and unskilled labor. The group also painted a mural.
Ccotowincho Nursery School
This project today serves 61 children in the community who before this were using the community center and another small office as their base for study and education. It was built in August of 2002 and now provides the children with a much needed space for learning and education. ProPeru financed the purchase of building materials such as tiles, doors, plaster, cement, sand, windows, nails, and wire to support the construction.
In 2006 ProPeru returned to build bathrooms for the children. Prior to the construction 60+ kids were using a hole in the ground. The bathrooms installed by ProPeru through the University of Pittsburgh provide a more hygienic means for managing waste and teach kids from an early age how to use these more hygienic methods.
Ancchopacha Nursery School
In June of 2004, a ProPeru group project constructed a nursery school in the community of Anccopacha, about 20 minutes from Urubamba on the road to Ollantaytambo. Anccopacha is a community of approximately 22 families that originally came from the town of Santa Teresa. Members of Santa Teresa relocated and formed Anccopacha in 1998 after a large flood and landslide during an El Nino year that destroyed several houses, crops, and community infrastructure. The community and its situation were brought to our attention by the Peruvian Ministry of Education (UGE) based in Urubamba. Many of the adults in Anccopacha are forced to travel daily to Ollantaytambo to sell food or work as laborers. The construction of the preschool assists these parents, as they are able to work during the morning, earn their days wage, and know that their children are cared for and learning. There are 16 children between the ages of 3 and 5 that attend the pre-school in Anccopacha. Prior to the construction, they were renting a small building from a family as the facility for school instruction. ProPeru provided the following building materials for the school construction: roof tiles, bamboo, windows and frames, doors and frames, plaster, cement, and qualified manual labor.
Yanahuara Nursery School
Assistance with improving or renovating the infrastructure of Sacred Valley educational facilities as well as providing quality instruction and education in the areas of environmental sciences, foreign languages, and the arts are the criteria used in selecting the monthly mini projects for the NGO Internship Program in Urubamba. Consistent with this, ProPeru has greatly assisted the nursery school in the community of Yanahuara with the construction of a school security fence, stairs for climbing the precarious hill to school, installation of a clean burning stove, and school furniture. Through various ProPeru mini projects, community work days, and semester weekend projects the previously mentioned constructions and enhancements were completed. ProPeru has been providing assistance to the nursery school in Yanahuara since April of 2004. This project today serves 31 children in the community. ProPeru financed the purchase of building materials such as sun dried mud bricks, cement, sand, aluminum panels, plastic tubes, nails, wooden desks, and wooden chairs to support the construction.
Academia Internet de Urubamba Computer Center
The Academy was founded in September of 2000 through an agreement between ProPeru Service Corps, Brother’s & Brother of the United States and The Municipality of Urubamba. It was created as an independent entity of the local and national government in administrative and economic terms with the goal of offering computer classes to segments of the population who otherwise wouldn’t not be able to study them. The Internet Academy has been formally recognized by the Ministry of Education according to resolution number 180 on the date of July 11th, 2000.
Chicon Biological Station
The construction of a multipurpose biological house in the community of Chicon is a component of a larger environmental project known as Protection of the Forests of The Sacred Valley. The biological station was constructed with the following objectives: environmental consciousness raising and education, tourism, forest research and investigations, and community development and security. The Chicon Biological Station was constructed in February of 2004 after various community work days with Chicon residents and ProPeru volunteers. ProPeru contributed various building materials and qualified technical assistance for completing the construction. Since February of 2004, ProPeru has also constructed a kitchen and public bathrooms directly adjacent to the biological house to better accommodate tourists that seek services of the youth ecotourism micro business that ProPeru has helped launched in an effort to generate employment and income for the youth as well as to assure proper preservation and conservation of the Chicon forest and glacier. All three constructions have a characteristic Incan architecture and utilized building materials commonly found in the area.
ProPeru brings students and teachers from various local educational institutions to the Chicon house for an environmental science class. The Sacred Valley has many distinct zones of life and a range of biodiversity that constitutes a live laboratory for professors and students. Some great environmental problems that are currently affecting the province of Urubamba include deforestation, landslides, and avalanches. These problems partly stem from a deficiency in knowledge and education about environmental sciences. Therefore, since 2004 ProPeru has been directing and leading environmental educational classes with local educational institutions to sensitize the local population to local environmental concerns and inculcate an interest to preserve and protect the natural forests and resources in the zone.
Construction of a complete irrigation system in Huaynacolca
The community of Huanyacolca in the Sacred Valley relies on agriculture to feed families and provide income. Unfortunately during the 8 month dry season, it is almost impossible for the community to grow anything. ProPeru semester students and NGO interns helped community members of Huanyacolca increase their income while reducing hunger and malnutrition by improving their harvest yield. Difficult terrain and a short, unpredictable wet season limit the community to only one harvest per year. To help farmers increase their crop yield, volunteers helped install a new irrigation system. In the first phase of the project, volunteers and staff built a concrete reservoir to collect water. In the second phase, volunteers and staff dug ditches and laid pipe to three sections of land where thick, moveable hoses will allow farmers to water large sections of their crops.
Construction of a school and communal building in Llipllec
Volunteers and community members inaugurated a school and communal building in the community of Llipllec, outside of Calca in the Sacred Valley in May of 2006. The project addresses the administrative and educational needs of the community of Llipllec. The community expressed a need for a building for community meetings, vocational and social workshops and training, and primary school education. Volunteers helped complete construction of the building, including the classrooms, common and storage areas, and kitchen. Volunteers also helped install electrical wiring as needed throughout the building.
Construction of three bridges in communities of Chaullacocha, Chupani and Wakawasi
The rain season in the year of 2004 caused significant destruction of infrastructure in the communities of Chaullacocha, Chupani, and Wakawasi. The precarious constructions of several bridges in all three communities were destroyed as a result of the heavy rains. All three high altitude communities in The Sacred Valley solicited governmental assistance and unfortunately received no economic support. In recognition of the lack of local resources to complete such structures, ProPeru endeavoured to construct three bridges made of boards of eucalyptus trees, cement and rocks with two distinct ProPeru group projects, the semester group of spring 2005 and various community work days. All three communities contributed cement and manual labor to the construction of the bridges.
Reforestation in the forests of Chicon
A component of the restoration of the natural forests in the community of Chicon includes the planting of native species. This restorative effort commenced with the ProPeru Semester students of Spring 2004 and continued with assistance from primary and secondary school students in the province of Urubamba that participate in the ProPeru Environmental Education Program. During 2004 and 2005 ProPeru volunteers and project participants managed to plant over 2,000 native trees around the ecological house in Chicon. Some of the native plants include Keuña, Chachacomo, Alizo, Floripondia and Unka among others.
ProPeru volunteers returned to Chicon in 2006 and worked with the community to plant an additional 1500 native trees including Escalonia Resinosa, Chachacomo, Budleja, Qulli, Polilepys and Quenuna. Part of the project was to educate the community about the dangers of deforestation and the importance of native plants on the local ecosystem.
Support for the birthing centers of the Ministries of Health in Calca and Lamay
Once a woman is pregnant, it is essential that she have good medical care and access to emergency obstetric-care facilities in case of unexpected complications. Today, Peru still confronts a high maternal mortality rate of 163 per one thousand live births. Some of the principal reasons for maternal deaths include haemorrhages predominantly associated with home births, low educational level, economic, cultural and geographic obstacles, as well as lack of access to quality information and medical attention.
In September of 2004, ProPeru initiated the construction of a birthing house in the province of Calca to encourage more expecting mothers living in high altitude communities to descend to a proper health facility when giving birth. In September of 2005, ProPeru staff and volunteers began supporting the birthing center in the district of Lamay with general infrastructure improvements such as painting and the provision of furniture as well as with enhancing the quantity and quality of the birthing house’s vegetable garden for the expecting mothers and families that temporarily seek refuge there. In 2006 ProPeru assisted with the construction of a new birthing center at the new hospital built in Lamay.
Public Health Campaigns
Projects aimed at improving the health and security of residents in the Sacred Valley is one of ProPeru’s principle development project initiatives. Since January of 2004, ProPeru has proudly extended health attention to 1,573 individuals living in poor and underserved communities. ProPeru volunteers and staff have directed and participated in educational discussions about dental health, personal hygiene, and damaging parasitic infections with adults and children in the following communities: Province of Calca: Rayampata, Achapampa, Acchabaja, Acchaalta, Juqui, Unuraki, Urcos, Sacllo, Arin, and Huandar. District of Pisac: Sacaca, Cuyogrande, Quello Quello, and Amaru. Province of Urubamba: Urban colegios and the community of Chichubamba. The objective of these educational discussions is to help form future generations that have the necessary knowledge and skills to promote and manage their personal health as well as the health of their family and community enabling them to study, work, and live healthily.
In 2006 ProPeru returned to Acchabaja, Unuraki, Huaran, Sacllo, and Arin and also brought health campaigns to the communities of Sillacancha, Atchapampa, Sondorpampa, Totora and Llipllec. These campaigns were also broadened to include such topics as: nutrition, women’s health, alcoholism, anaemia and domestic violence.
Adolescent Health Education
Como Planear Mi Vida (How to Plan My Life) is an innovative health program created by The Center for Population Control in collaboration with the Asociacion Demografica Costarriccense that helps train and educate adolescents to make appropriate life decisions. The teaching curriculum covers an ample range of themes such as self esteem, values, stereotypical ideas about gender roles, decision making, father and motherhood, sexuality, AIDS, personal communication, and employment. Adolescence marks a time full of changes and decisions. The complex decisions and challenges to growing constitute a principal problem for adolescents. They need to be prepared and fully equipped to make positive life decisions regarding their personal and professional life as well as acquire the knowledge and necessary techniques to perform a productive role in society. Como Planear Mi Vida is an intensive and dynamic health program that strives to help adolescents effectively confront difficulties and challenges that their social environment may present as well as provide the necessary knowledge and skills to guarantee a complete physical, emotional and sexual development. Various groups of ProPeru Health Education volunteers have taught this adolescent health program to high school students in the Colegio Agropecuario in Urubamba as well as the Colegio Humberto Luna in Calca.
This program was implemented again in 2006 in the Agro-Pecuario High School in Calca for over 70 children.
K’anchay Wasi: Support for battered women and children
In January of 2004, ProPeru began to assist with the development of a women’s and children’s family center in the community of Arin, Huandar. The women’s shelter is called K’anchay Wasi which signifies “The House of Light” in Quechua. Project objectives were to create a safe place or refuge for women and children who have faced domestic violence and offer them training and support to facilitate a proper reintegration into their social and economic lives. Other project goals include creating educational systems that can improve the quality of life for the local population. ProPeru’s assistance has extended to the installation of water and the amplification of electricity at the center, as well as the construction of a wall for the children’s library and entrance stairs. ProPeru has also financed the purchase of medicines, doctor consultations, and legal advice for the participants of the center. Materials for sewing workshops and training as well as for the children’s library and daily recreational activities have also been purchased with ProPeru funds.
In 2006 K’anchay Wasi hit its stride, opening a store to sell handmade goods made by the women, purchasing equipment to help women sew and weave, conducting workshops on self-esteem and other topics, hosting classes on sales, English, and other useful areas in addition to the normal services it provides. ProPeru also helped build a functioning kitchen on site and paid for the services of lawyers, psychologists, obstetricians and other doctors. Additionally ProPeru volunteers and staff helped in fundraising, allowing for various educational field trips.
Lamay Vocational Center
ProPeru Semester and NGO Volunteers finished the construction and painting of the first floor of the Lamay Vocational Center in July 2005. An inauguration of the vocational center occurred on July 3rd 2005, where various other community participants that collaborated with the construction of the building such as the local town government, the Association of Retired Professionals of Lamay, Primary and Secondary School Directors, and Arariwa also participated.
Guinea Pig Breeding Project
The breeding of guinea pigs is a traditional practice in the Sacred Valley. The animals are raised with the objectives of utilizing their wastes for cooking as well as a form of organic fertilizer for the cultivation of various crops. Guinea pig is high in protein and it is a Peruvian custom to consume guinea pig on special occasions, holidays, and agricultural fairs and festivals. The agricultural high school in Urubamba, El Colegio Agropecuario de Urubamba, is an educational institution that offers secondary studies primarily to the rural population. An education at this colegio includes various practical orientations to agriculture and animal husbandry aiming to strengthen the formation for a student’s overall agricultural skills and knowledge. Due to a scarcity of human and economic resources, students in the first year of high school were not able to apply their knowledge and training to the actual practice of breeding an animal. Therefore, in June of 2004, ProPeru initiated a guinea pig breeding project with the first year high school students, allowing them to gain this important life experience.
Agrotourism in the community of Chichubamba, Urubamba
The agrotourism project in Chichubamba endeavours to combine two of Peru’s largest industries: agriculture and tourism. The goals of the agrotourism project in Chichubamba are to help families diversify their products and services, expand the existing markets for indigenous farmers, create an additional source of income for the families, and create new festivals and fairs celebrating the agricultural products of the region. Farm stands, U-pick operations, and farm bed and breakfasts are some of the growing trends in agrotourism in developed countries. Once fully established, the agrotourism tour in Chichubamba will model some of these first world trends in addition to introducing such novelties as beekeeping, chicha stands, and the breeding of guinea pigs.
In 2006 this project took leaps and bounds toward its objectives. ProPeru volunteers worked with the community to hone and professionalize its services. Bathrooms were built, classes in English and computation were provided and workshops were held in addition to many other activities. ProPeru volunteers also helped develop promotional materials, designing and printing posters and brochures and building a fully functioning website. Additionally volunteers joined community members in actively visiting travel agencies and the government’s tourism ministry to promote the project.
Construction of a Bridge in Chichubamba
In October 2006 ProPeru volunteers collaborated with the community of Chichubamba to rebuild the bridge at the entrance of the community. Volunteers also worked to improve the canals on either side of the bridge—their poor state being the prime reason the bridge had deteriorated in the first place. The improved entrance allows for smooth entrance and exit from this agricultural community.
Construction of a Nursery in Tancac
In 2006 ProPeru volunteers visited the community of Tancac and worked with community members to create a nursery. The goal of the nursery was to construct a “living fence” to enclose the community’s cemetery. By promoting the use of native plants this project seeks to reforest the area while meeting the need of the community. With the use of fruit trees the hope is that the community will have an additional source of revenue and/or food.
Construction of Bathrooms in Sacllo
In August 2006 ProPeru was solicited to install bathrooms at a grammar school in Sacllo—20 minutes from Calca. ProPeru volunteers worked alongside the community to install two bathrooms for the 40 children enrolled in the school. The pits that students were using prior to installation had been in use too long creating various health hazards.
A Promise with Hope – Project to Support Adolescent Mothers
Una Promesa con Esperanza (PCE) is a project started in the fall of 2006. The project targets young mothers (ideally between the ages of 16 and 22) of limited means. The project builds on the work at K’anchay Wasi, where the women meet three times a week to work on their knitting projects and talk about issues of importance to them. The young mothers of PCE generally meet two times a week to learn to knit and to receive educational talks. The group meets in the Agricultural Cooperative of Huaran; the women all live in the community of Huaran.
The women are trained in handicrafts such as knitting to provide them with a skill. These women have little formal education and lack life experience, and may face discrimination and/or ostracism in their communities. PCE’s action plan includes building their labor capacity, support for health care and legal matters, and child care education. The services offered can vary depending on the needs of the woman. The goal is that the mothers grow in their abilities to care for themselves and their children.
In March of 2005, 18 students and four teachers collaborated with La Loma Luz Hospital to begin construction of a diagnostic wing for the first radiological center in the region. In May of 2005, 10 students and 1 teacher came to Belize and spent one week continuing the construction. This hospital is one of the best in Belize and our volunteers were able to assist workers in everything from brick laying to preparing the inside for new radiological equipment. This is an ongoing project with construction now in the hands of Belizeans. We look forward to seeing a completed wing in the near future. The completion of this center will directly affect thousands of Belizeans. The ability to respond to various types of trauma could potentially save lives and many other Belizeans will save a considerable amount of money through treatment by avoiding a previously necessary trip to Belize City
Construction of Radiology Center in San Ignacio
Elijio Panti National Park, San Antonio
ProBelize is committed to an ongoing environmental development project with the ITZAMNA society, assisting with irrigation, reforestation, and trail maintenance in the Elijio Panti National Park. In May of 2005, 10 students and 1 teacher came to Belize and spent one week in Elijio Panti National Park working on various projects with the aid of community partners. Volunteers assisted with the improvement of infrastructure at the park’s visitor’s center, improved drainage systems to avoid flooding, and worked to maintain trails throughout the park. Additionally, three NGO interns have worked with the Belize Organic Producers Association in the park. The project goals were to continue to improve the facilities at the visitor’s center in order to allow the park to receive visitors and thus become a sustainable enterprise that is able to conserve a large amount of Belize’s native jungle.
Renovation of various public libraries both in Cayo and Hopkins village
In September of 2005, a volunteer placed with St. Andrews Primary School in San Ignacio commenced renovations on their library, cataloging nearly 1300 donated books and creating a school reading program. She collaborated with parents and teachers to set up organized reading sessions throughout the day for students of all ages. This project was passed on to a second volunteer who created an after school reading and art program. He also put his finishing mark on the newly renovated library by designing and painting a mural for the staff and students to enjoy.
In Hopkins Village, volunteers constructed a series of shelves for the primary school library. ProBelize also coordinated with a foreign donor to receive over 1200 books for the library. Using these materials, ProBelize has led a number of tutoring sessions, summer camps, and reading groups in the library.
Rural Education and Community Health Outreach, Cayo District
On 25 and 26 June, 2004, ProBelize, in collaboration with the Belize Ministry of Health, Representative Mario Castellanos and with the services of Dr. Guillermo Rivas, organized a mobile outreach health clinic under the aegis of Rural Education and Community Health (REACH). The people of these villages, mostly recent immigrants from Guatemala, are marginalized by lack of English skills and by their geographic isolation. (No bus routes serve the area and the quickest route to the Western Highway is accessed via a ferry.) Thanks to community collaboration and contributions from local pharmacies, the project was conducted relatively inexpensively, and within a finite time period, providing a rewarding and memorable experience for the ProBelize interns, and providing a valuable service to the community. Over 900 community members were seen by a doctor and two cases of diabetes were diagnosed through the campaign. Many other community members received much needed medication and other treatment.
LMC building, Hurricane Shelter/Community Center construction project
Construction on the LMC building began as a small project, and grew into a 30x55 ft concrete block structure. Construction was put on hold due to lack of finances, and resumed by ProBelize volunteers in November of 2005. Construction has included painting, cement work, finishing partitions, sheet rock, and other small projects. This space will be used (when not used as a hurricane shelter), as a youth center for computer classes, music classes, continuing education for adults, and a place for youths to hang out in a positive drug free environment.
Diabetes testing and education services, Cayo and Stann Creek Districts
ProBelize assisted in the completion of a diabetes research project initiated in September 2004 by Mr. Collet Montejo, Chaplin of La Loma Luz Adventist hospital. To date Mr. Montejo with the assistance of ProBelize volunteers has collected data from a sample population in the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena, part of Corozol and about 80% of the rural areas in the Cayo district. The project has entailed visiting rural communities surrounding upper and lower Spanish Lookout, Barton Creek, 7 Mile, Augustine, Cotton Tree, Springfield, and collecting data including height, weight, blood pressure, sex, and glucose level. The objective of this research is more than just collecting data, but to make a case to the ministry of Health about the problem of diabetes in Belize.
Also, working with local doctors and nurses in the communities of Hopkins, Maya centre and Sittee River, ProBelize volunteers have conducted surveys, tested blood sugar levels, and provided education to hundreds of individuals suffering from diabetes. The work of ProBelize volunteers has led to the diagnosis of multiple new cases, enabling victims of the disease to seek treatment for their ailment.
Youth Basketball Camp, San Ignacio and Hopkins Village
ProBelize conducted a basketball camp targeted at Cayo area youths aged 11-16. The camp took place everyday in the afternoon, and included physical training and skills training such as dribbling, ball handling, passing and shooting. The camp ran simultaneously with the ProBelize basketball camp in Hopkins village. At the completion of both camps the Cayo team was transported to the coast for a three game series. The camp, game and post-game activities were all a great success, and ProBelize hopes to continue the camp. Through the efforts of ProBelize volunteers, over 40 kids have been given the opportunity to learn valuable lessons of team-work, benefits of involvement in extracurricular activities, and leadership in a safe and positive environment.
Construction and maintenance of a community park and playground, Hopkins Village
In various phases, ProBelize has led the charge in building a comprehensive park for the people of Hopkins Village. Components of the park provided by ProBelize volunteers include a full playground with swing sets, a slide and wooden fort, a tire obstacle course, a sand box, monkey bars, and hobby horses; BBQ grills and picnic tables; a flag pole and flag, a volleyball court, a large bandstand, and many different trees and flowers. Other aspects of the Community Park project include the reclamation of 300 square meters of swamp, the formation and guidance of the Hopkins Park Committee for sustainable maintenance of the park, multiple fundraising initiatives, and various events promoting youth sports. In various ways, almost the entire community of Hopkins Village (pop. 1300) have utilized the facilities of this park and have benefited from its creation.
Tutoring children in reading, writing, and math, Stann Creek District
In after school programs and on an independent level, many ProBelize volunteers have taken time to work with children in need of extra assistance in Hopkins Village, San Ignacio, and Sittee River. Teachers have commented directly to ProBelize that the effects of the extra help provided by volunteers were noticeable in the classroom.
ProBelize Youth Camps, Hopkins Village
ProBelize planned and facilitated a summer camp for primary school children during the out-of-school months in 2004 and 2005. In Hopkins Village, ProBelize volunteers organized and led multiple summer camps for various age groups. The camps focused on three areas; education, arts and crafts, and sports. In the summer months, children are left with very few options for supervised activity. ProBelize volunteers provided a venue for positive, structured, and helpful diversion each summer for the youth in Hopkins.
Cynthia Pitts is as human rights lawyer working out of Belmopan. Legal placements with her are combined with work at the Belize Center for Human Rights. Students working at the center who have a background with law are able to assist Cynthia Pitts in her office and with current human rights cases as well as general office work. The Belize Center for Human Rights is a non-profit, independent, autonomous human rights entity located on the UB campus. The center was set up in January 2004 by a group of men, women and young people committed to human rights justice and peace. ProBelize volunteers help at the center including help with researching and publishing of findings, helping promote freedom of expression, and freedom of access to information, assisting in providing specialized human rights courses participating in and organizing seminars, workshops, and conferences with Belizean and Guatemalan participants.
Mt. Sinai Group Health Outreach
This one week health outreach visited ten villages including two one-day visits to the nursing homes. Eight doctors and sixteen medical students offered consultations to over 1200 patients, diagnosing, distributing medicines and administering preventative health education. ProBelize collaborated with a variety of government and non-government community partners to execute this project, including La Loma Luz hospital, the Ministry of Healh, Good Shepard Clinic, Peace Corps, JDB medical distributors, Belize TV, Cornerstone Foundation and others. Lending to the sustainability of this project records were kept in each village including over 20 patient specific variables which were compiled into a data base for future reference.
First Aid Training for Villagers
Due to the lack of community nurses and emergency response, ProBelize identified a need for localized first aid training. With the assistance of Codds Pharmacy and a professor of first aid training, ProBelize volunteers organized a one day workshop, in which 25 villagers from 8 different villages received training and were certified in basic first aid.
Chaga’s Disease Educational Campaign
This ongoing project addresses the increasing public health concern in Belize regarding Chaga’s disease, which is spread by the vector Tripanazome (Triatoma dimidata), locally know as the bush chinch or stink bug. Volunteers organized the administration of a KAPS survey that has been put into effect in order to gather village specific information about the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices regarding this disease. Volunteers also worked three days a week in the pathology lab assisting with diagnostic tests including blood cell counts as well as screening urine and fecal samples for disease and parasites. Volunteers also participated in a public health awareness campaign including television appearances, the creation of murals, and door to door education.
Santa Elena Youth Summer Camp
Due to a lack of intramural activities and summer programs for Belizean children, ProBelize volunteers organized a seven week summer camp located at Santa Elena Primary School. Over 60 local children participated in activities such as youth sports, education and art. The camp took place 5 days a week from 9am to 5pm providing a safe and secure environment for children on summer break.
Volunteers work as assistant teachers in local schools. They assist teachers with classroom activities, one on one tutoring, grading papers, and other activities. Some volunteers have conducted after school courses including art, journalism, and other supplementary classes that may not normally be offered as part of the curriculum.
St. Andrew’s School Renovation Project
St. Andrew’s school is located in San Ignacio, Belize, and has a student body of over 400 students from kindergarten to 8th grade. Although the school receives funding from the government for teachers salaries, they are highly dependant on fundraising and individual contributions for everything else. The school was in desperate need of renovation and expansion of already existing facilities. For example chalkboards were used as dividers between classrooms, and many of the current facilities including the bathrooms are in poor condition to the point of being unsanitary. Volunteers constructed classroom partitions, renovated bathrooms, and did a variety of finishing work including painting, plastering, and plumbing.
A group of dental hygiene students worked with the local public dentist at San Ignacio hospital for two weeks. The volunteers provided checkups, education and fluoride treatment for children. The group was able to provide dental education, raise awareness for dental health, and see over 200 patients. Some of the children required transportation from their remote villages and would normally never receive dental hygiene education.
Nueva Vida, Oaxaca
ProMexico volunteers have been supporting the Zapotec women’s cooperative Nueva Vida since our arrival in Oaxaca in May 2005. In addition to teaching the women some basic sales English to help them sell their quality rugs and other woolen products, one of our volunteers created a comprehensive website providing the women direct access to consumers in the US and around the world.
Frente Comun Contra la SIDA, Oaxaca
A number of ProMexico volunteers have contributed to the state-wide AIDS awareness project known here as the Frente Comun Contra la SIDA (Common Front Against AIDS). Volunteers have helped promote the Frente’s new website, done research to improve the content of the website and have participated in campaigns to better inform the public about the AIDS situation in Oaxaca and how to better protect oneself against the risks of the disease.
Clinica del Pueblo, Oaxaca
ProMexico has supported the Clinica del Pueblo—a low cost clinic in a poor neighborhood in Oaxaca. Our volunteers have supported the clinic’s staff, performing tasks for the nurses and doctors such as preparing instruments for surgery and taking histories and vitals. They’ve also given eye exams and helped organize donated prescription drugs.
With MEXFAM ProMexico volunteers have toured various villages surrounding Oaxaca giving talks about reproductive rights to small groups of women and adolescents. The aim of these talks is to better educate the rural Oaxacan whose awareness of the body, reproduction and contraception is generally insufficient.
Centro Oaxaqueño de Rehabilitacion de Audicion y Lenguaje, Oaxaca
ProMexico volunteers have worked with the educators and social workers at the Centro Oaxaqueño de Rehabilitación de Audición y Lenguaje (CORAL) in their mission to attend to Oaxaca’s deaf children. The program specializes in early intervention, speech therapy, and helping families cope with the problems and issues surrounding raising a deaf child. Volunteers have supported educators in the classrooms and gone out with social workers to diagnose hearing problems and evaluate socio-economic needs.
Estancia Fraternidad, Oaxaca
The Estancia Fraternidad is a home located next to Oaxaca’s largest public hospital. The mission of the organization is to provide food and shelter to the sick and needy turned away from the hospital and to family members of patients who are far from home and can’t afford a hotel or meals. ProMexico volunteers have provided art classes for temporary residents to help reduce stress, raised money at a weekly market selling food and crafts, helped get a badly needed oxygen tank donated for the organization’s ambulance and, most recently, built a new webpage allowing the Estancia to provide more current information to donors and collect donations via the internet. For more information please view www.estanciafraternidad.com.
Rural Education, Trinidad de Zaachila.
ProMexico volunteers have supported local teachers in Trinidad de Zaachila, a rural community 25 minutes away from Oaxaca. Volunteers have provided an extra set of hands in the overcrowded classrooms and also worked with the community to brightly paint the town’s nursery school. Additionally, ProMexico volunteers have given English classes to high school students.
Youth Sports, Oaxaca
ProMexico has been working with La Escuela de Educación Especial Número 14 in another small town outside of Oaxaca, providing physical education classes to the school’s special needs students. ProMexico volunteers also teamed up with faculty and staff to build a basketball court and some recycling bins to initiate an educational program for the students.
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, Oaxaca
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria is a NGO working with Oaxaca’s rural community reintroducing amaranth—a protein-rich grain used in pre-Colombian times but eradicated by the Spanish. ProMexico volunteers have provided Puente with research and aided in the development of a comprehensive organizational manual. They have also participated in talks and workshops.
"My co-workers gave me so much responsibility - I got to lead consulting projects, write articles, and give a tourist's perspective on Peruvian crafts." - Madeleine
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