Hopefully some of you will have been following our blog so you know what we’ve been up to lately. Most recently, we have spent three weeks working as volunteers building an eco-friendly and sustainable house made out of straw bales and mud!
However, the reason for writing today is to tell you about our next project and to ask for your help!
We have been given the opportunity to take on a project of our own in Bolivia: to take a semi-derelict shed and turn it into a library and meeting point for the children of a small community.
The Maria Auxiliadora community was originally set up by a group of five women, to help other local women and their children leave their broken or abusive homes, and to have a house of their own. Over the last 12 years, the community has now grown to 2000 residents, all of whom are of low income families or single parents, trying to make a life for themselves outside the squalor they had been living in previously.
We have agreed to take on the project of rebuilding and hopefully extending this derelict outhouse, and turning it into a library and meeting point for the children of the community. The community is trying to raise money to buy materials, but given that the average income in the community is only £15/week, it is going to be pretty minimal, if anything at all. One neighbour has a door to donate and we hope to scavenge what we can from a range of sources.
If we are going to complete this project (and provide the community with something more than a tin shed), we will need additional materials over and above those provided by the local community.
Materials are obviously much cheaper in Bolivia that in the UK, but still expensive for the locals to buy.
- Timber for framing is relatively expensive: 5 Bolivianos per metre = BUT ONLY 50p in our money
- Cañahueca, (like bamboo) for walling: 1.30 Bolivianos per length = BUT ONLY 13p in our money
- £2 will buy us four lengths of wood to make a door frame
- £1 will buy us 2 lengths of wood to make a window frame
- £5 will buy us (a lot of) bags of cement for the floor
We will need timber for doors, windows and a large amount to extend the existing roof. We will need to buy bricks or adobe blocks, we need corrugated metal sheets for the roof, cement for the floor, clay to render the walls, and lime to paint the external walls. Labour will be us and the children from the community, which is obviously given for free!
All we are asking is if you could spare a small amount of money, so we can buy what we need to make this project happen.
Until we get started, we won’t know exactly how much we will need, but an educated guess would be somewhere in the region of £300-£400, in total.
We think the safest and best way to get money from Europe into Bolivia is via Paypal. Once we get to Bolivia we can take out all the money that has been raised, in cash.
IF, by any chance there is any money left over after the building is finished, we will then be able to help the extended community by buying locally made tables and chairs, a bookcase etc to fit out our space. But that may be wishful thinking!
All money will go directly into the community to buy what we need. From our own travel fund, we will be contributing by paying towards board and food while we stay in the community, and we will obviously be working for free.
We have set up a Facebook page so you can view the building (now), and in progress when we are actually doing the work. You DO NOT have to be a member of Facebook to view this link: (for FACEBOOK users, please click LIKE and you will be kept up-to-date with future posts).
Click here: Community Maria Auxiliadora
Click on ‘Send Money’ (second line down on the menu bar), then on the next page, click on the yellow ‘send money’ button.
All you need from us is Chloe’s email address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Change the tab on the screen to ‘PERSONAL’ and tick GIFT. Once you have entered your details, your donation will then automatically be transferred to the account we have set up with Paypal.
Please have a think about our cause – even the smallest amount will go far in Bolivia!
Thank you for reading this mammoth amount of text – we will continue to update Facebook with the ‘Amount raised’, so you can all see how we are getting on. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions, and pass this on to anyone else who may be interested.
Generous investors will have their names inscribed on a brick!
Thanks and best wishes
Chloe & Chris