"Children are no longer cold while they’re trying to learn, and will have improved health and safety within the new community centre.”
A community is defined as a group of people who share common interests, values and goals. There is no better embodiment of the notion of community than the construction of the Koani Children’s Support Centre located in Bolivia. The evolution of this new development centre came from a true community partnership between Canadian Feed The Children, our local partner SCSJ and Habitat for Humanity Bolivia who came together to build a space where children could thrive.
A CENTRE IS BORN
Officially opening in October 2020, the Koani Centre was born out of the need for a fully functioning and optimally located children’s centre for families. Before construction, the neighbourhood was far away from any fully furnished children’s centres, and the only centres in the area were under heavy construction. As well, the area in Bolivia where the Koani Centre is located is prone to heavy, cold rains so the need for warm and safe infrastructure was crucial.
Canadian Feed The Children and our local partner SCSJ teamed up with Habitat for Humanity Bolivia to collaborate on this desperately needed centre. Habitat for Humanity provided the physical construction of the centre, Canadian Feed The Children provided the furnishings, and SCSJ will administer the actual learning, classes and activities done at the centre. This incredible community partnership demonstrates the strengths that each organization brings to the table and how true community partnership can achieve great things.
The brand-new two-level building has ample space for everyone in the local community to use and enjoy. The upper floor is dedicated to children and has a kitchen area and plenty of space for children to play and learn. The bottom level is a devoted community space for neighbourhood meetings. The building is outfitted with proper insulation and safety measures so families can be in a warm and safe environment no matter the weather.
Bringing change to the community
Since the opening of the Koani Centre, the community members in the neighbourhood are already happily adapting to the new building. The classroom support children will receive, such as math and reading help, will improve the children’s learning and educational success.
“The whole self-esteem of the community has increased exponentially,” explained Pablo Miranda, one of the Habitat for Humanity Bolivia architects. “Children are no longer cold while they’re trying to learn, and will have improved health and safety within the new community centre.”
We also spoke with Marisol, a mother in the community whose entire family is involved with the community centre committee. She’s thrilled the Koani Centre has been built and that children will have the opportunity to improve their education.
“Children will be supported so they don’t forget what they’ve learned in school. They can now express themselves freely, play with one another and with the community kitchen, have a place where families can cook and learn about nutritious food,” Marisol explained.
Partnering together for children
Partnering with SCSJ and Habitat for Humanity Bolivia was a great achievement, and a display of the importance of partnering with other organizations to facilitate change in a community. “Jointly, when you have more support, more people can be reached, the work is evenly divided, and the overall communities benefit more from having increased opportunities,” said Pablo on the importance of these kinds of working relationships.
Plans for the future include more partnerships to increase infrastructure in the community. This area in Bolivia has no clean drinking water or sewage systems, which has made disinfecting and hand washing particularly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. The community is hoping that in the future the implementation of water drainage will foster a safer community for children and families.
Thanks to our partner SCSJ, Habitat for Humanity Bolivia, and our dedicated CFTC donors, the residents of this community can come together so children and families can learn and feel supported in a safe and warm space for years to come.