Ko'eju, Chacarita, Asunción
September 7-8. Asunción.
|Aim:||"To support empoverished families living in the Chacarita high-density area"|
|Staff:||12 staff members|
|People Reached:||reaching out to about 400 children, plus adults|
|Donation:||900,000 guarani (188 USD), plus materials to start a micro-business|
|Pigs live in the community stable|
On the verge of that slum, located in a picturesque corner building, sits a Christian based organization called Ko'eju (amanecer in Quetchua) that reaches out to the community of Chakarita with a range of services and activities. Obviously, there are bible schools and faith related activities on Saturday evenings and services on Sundays.
But Ko'eju doesn't exist to win souls. They are committed to professional poverty eradication and education programs and their engagement has proven to be very successful.
Most notably (to our nostrils) is the bakery that employs residents of the slum and offers them vocational training. Ko'eju also offers hairdressing training, English classes, computer training, cooking classes, and more. There is also woman's self help group that meets weekly, where about twenty women share their experiences, for example, regarding setting up their own small business or making ends meet. This is not always easy, and as a result malnutrition is prolific in the Chakarita. Ko'eju therefor runs a comedor where 400 children come to eat, one group at the time. In cooperation with academic volunteers, Ko'eju has also organised free medical support as well as audiological training.
The pastor is a very kind and driven man, and shows profound insight in the plight of the people of the Chakarita, and the pro-active attitude that we admire so much in people managing an NGO. We have a truly nice conversation, and could readily share experiences and ideas. We decide to support a selected family to set up a microbusiness to become a bright and uplifting example for their neigbours.
A good example can inspire
We support one particularly poor family setting up a microbusiness that will be selling juice and empanadas. Alicia Quevedo and her husband Arnaldo Cardozo have five young children and are unemployed. She had the idea to start the microbusiness but lacked funding and assistance to live the spirit of entrepreneurship.
We buy a liquadora, a blender, for the juice stand, and donate money for other supplies, such as a cart, that she might need to develop her microbusiness. Under the supervision of Ko'eju, the business will be started up step by step, and after the successful completion of one step, the rest of the money will be made available.
On October 7th, 2010, we hear that the microbusiness has been initiated in front of the well-known "Stock" supermarket and that Mrs. Alicia works there from monday to friday from 7am to noon. They are preparing to sell fruit salads and juices because the hot season is coming.
We hope that she and her family will be successful and eventually inspire other visitors and other empoverished families to come together and follow the example.