Winter has arrived. In the high desert of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, too many poor families know what this means – near freezing temperatures and a raw wind that seeps into their bones at night, a wind that blows right through their shacks made of scrap metal, cardboard, plastic sheets, and scavenged bricks. And children who are constantly sick and struggle to get out of bed in the morning because of the frigid air.
For too many families in this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination, this is their daily reality. And in the summer’s rainy season, it’s even grimmer, with the heavy rains soaking through their threadbare mattresses and meager belongings, and turning their dirt floors into mud baths.
According to the World Bank, 42% of Mexico’s population lives in poverty. Founded in 2001, Casita Linda (https://casitalinda.org/) is an NGO based in San Miguel de Allende whose mission is to create a dignified, safe, and empowering environment that provides a foundation of hope for families living in extreme poverty. We work to alleviate hardship and suffering – one family at a time – in this city that is stained by extreme economic inequalities. To date, Casita Linda has built houses for 124 families, benefitting 604 people. Our ultimate goal is to prevent the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
We not only build strong, attractive houses for these families, but we also fully equip each home – with wood furniture (made by the local school for the deaf), mattresses, a water cistern, fruit trees, and a rainwater harvesting system so that they have clean water to drink and cook with (in partnership with Caminos de Agua). With a new Casita Linda house, they have shelter from poor weather conditions, as well as improved hygiene, health, and diet. They have better family communication and less stress in the home, and the children finally have a quiet and clean place to do their homework. They have vastly improved privacy and security thanks to separate bedrooms and a front door that locks for the first time in their lives. They are finally able to plan for and look forward to a better future, rather than having to focus on mere survival.
When combined with our twice weekly community-based empowerment and life skills workshops provided by our social worker, Magda Perez, these families are pulling themselves out of poverty, one day at a time. With their newly found self-confidence, many of the women have become entrepreneurs, turning some of the space in their homes into tiendas, for example, where they sell anything from soda and chips, to freshly made tortillas and sandwiches. The pressure that Casita Linda has helped alleviate has freed their minds to think creatively about ways to start businesses and support their families.
SO….WHERE DO YOU COME IN? We’re hosting this GoFundMe campaign to raise the $30,000 USD needed to build two houses in the rural community of San Miguel Viejo. Due to rising materials costs, each house now costs $15,000 USD and includes everything described above. We hope that you can help us cover these expenses. Any amount counts and is greatly appreciated! COVID-19 has been devastating for poor families in San Miguel de Allende, but Casita Linda is committed to continuing to help house these communities and ease their burden. Thank you for joining us in this effort!
Here are the two families that have been selected to receive homes:
FAMILIA RAMIREZ FAJARDO
The Ramirez Fajardo family consists of Jose, age 36, Yolanda, age 35, and their 7 children, ages 2 to 18. Jose is a part-time construction worker and makes about $280 USD a month. Yolanda only has a 5th grade education and is a homemaker. The oldest two daughters are no longer in school and work at sandwich and poultry stands, making about $150 USD each per month. The family lives in one room, lent to them by Yolanda’s cousin, where they all sleep together. They cook outside and have no bathroom.
FAMILIA TORREZ RAMIREZ
The Torrez Ramirez Family consists of Marcelino, age 55, Gloria, age 40, and their 6 children, ages 1-16. Marcelino is a part-time construction worker and makes about $300 USD a month. Gloria is a homemaker. The 16-year-old daughter is no longer in school and works as a housekeeper, making $250 per month. They live in an old, dilapidated room that was given to them by the municipal government.
- Sean Alvarez
- Louise Gilliam
- Chris Gilliam
Fundraising team (6)
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