Casita Linda is happy to report that on June 24, 2014 we will begin building Casita #77! On behalf of all the families we have and continue to serve, all of Casita Linda would like to thank you for your generosity and support. Providing homes and protection for families living in poverty would not be possible without your financial support, volunteer work, and moral support.
Casita #77 is being built for Maria and her family in Nueva Pantoja. Maria is a single mother of two, a girl (age 7) and boy (age 3). She was abandoned by her husband and works to support her two children by making bricks with her hands and feet. We met her when she was making bricks by one of the homes we were building in the area. Her current home, is a one bedroom shelter that she built with materials and objects that she found on the land. She is an extremely hard worker and good mother. We are fortunate to have met her and are very happy to be able to provide a safe and secure home for her (see attached pictures).
I would like to annouce that Louise Gilliam has been elected as the new President of Board of Directors of Casita Linda. She has been a permanent resident of San Miguel de Allende for eight years, a Casita Linda event chairman for six years and a board member since 2011. Casita Linda is also happy to announce that Gregg Blackburn, Lyn Gawan, and Joanne Howard have joined as members of the board of Directors and our Amber Nieto is our new Executive Director.
None of our officers or members of our Board of Directors receive wages or other benefits. The only individuals who receive any pay are the individuals on our Mexican construction teams and our Executive Director, Amber Nieto, who is is a Mexican and a local of San Miguel de Allende. We operate on a budget that is very carefully managed, and more than 90% of your contribution goes directly toward the construction of casitas.
We of course remain hopeful that you and your friends, members of your family, and perhaps a local business or charitable organization in your town will be able to support our work in 2014. We are very appreciative of your past and future support.
Let us know if you would like to receive any information about Maria and her family or an update/progress report as we begin to build Casita #77.
Casita Linda A.C.
San Miguel de Allende, GTO Mexico
In April 2013 until April 2014, Casita Linda and the Board of directors have accomplished many things to further the mission to build homes for the poorest of the poor in San Miguel de Allende Mexico:
Casita Linda continues to improve all aspects of its services to the poorest of the poor residents of San Miguel de Allende. Casita Linda A.C. would like to take this opportunity to thank the local, national, and international community for their continued support.
Casita Linda’s process of selecting a family to build a home for (gratis) in San Miguel de Allende is as important as the construction of the home. On staff is a Director of Social Services, a Mexican citizen that has decades of experience in all levels of public and private services for the poor. The Director and a designated Board representative survey a map of all the surrounding neighborhoods/barrios/ejidos that encompass San Miguel de Allende. These properties were formed after the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900’s when huge tracts of land were divided into grids for the poor families that worked the land.
Casita Linda’s team goes into these ejidos, and meets with the elected representative/delegado. They determine the number of people who live in shelters of found materials, and if these families own the small lots that they live on. Casita Linda informs these families that there will be a thorough investigation and interview process to determine who will be selected for a free home. Casita Linda has a very detailed criterion that these families must initially meet to be considered by the Board of Directors. The standard that must be met for selection is:
This information for each prospective family is compiled in a report that lists each member’s age, sex, and relationship. The report is presented to the Casita Linda Board of Directors at their monthly meeting for discussion and approval. If a family is selected, the construction of the home is begun within a few weeks. The home takes four weeks to build. A dedication ceremony is done for each home/family and a Casita Linda plaque is presented and attached to the home with their family name on it.
The dedication of the home is not the end of Casita Linda’s involvement with the selected family. Workshops and programs are provided on family planning, health, nutrition, education, employment opportunities, and home maintenance. Over five hundred people were provided comfortable, decent homes and Casita Linda’s social services thanks to the contributions from groups and individuals. This is all being accomplished for only $6,500 USD per home.
Casita Linda A.C. is fortunate to have benefited from the actions of one individual and his family. Alex Renaud, who learned of Caisita Linda through GlobalGiving, is a thirteen year old living in London with his family. He choose Casita Linda because “it is a small Mexican NGO and to respect my mother’s heritage, and that my actions would have a greater impact on a smaller charity. My money can make a real difference to these people with an immediate tangible impact.” Alex climbed the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) in February 2013. He is the youngest of his group and raised over $55K USD through GlobalGiving for Caisita Linda AC.
As you are aware, Casita Linda’s mission is to provide environmentally compatible, low cost, comfortable homes to families living in extreme poverty who reside in greater San Miguel de Allende Mexico. In addition we provide guidance and programs for families to improve their health, education, and maintenance of their homes and communities.
Casita Linda was founded in the harsh winter of 2001 after several people died as a result of inadequate handmade shelters made of found scrap materials. Casita Linda realized that constructing homes had an immediate and long term effect on the health and wellbeing of the families’ who received them. Casita Linda continued with the concept of creating workshops and programs to promote good hygiene habits, diet, ecological sustainability, and social development. The people in inadequate shelters are at an increased risk of dying prematurely and suffer from a wide range of health problems, including seizures, chronic pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, tuberculosis, and skin/ foot problems. Children go hungry at twice the rate of other children and they have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems.
Alex Renaud and his extended family (from all over the globe) decided to visit San Miguel de Allende in August 2013. They were able to see firsthand the immediate impact of Alex’s efforts resulting from his heroic climb in February 2013 and the charitable donations he raised. Alex and his family toured the country side, five months after the climb, and viewed the seven homes and the forty five individuals he was able to help. After the tour, Alex was gracious enough to speak in Spanish to hundreds of local school children on the importance of education and all individuals’ role to give something back to their community. He had an amazing journey. His quest was the result of his determination to achieve something much larger than acclaim for himself. As a result Casita Linda awarded Alex (the first recipient) of the “Spirit of Hope” medal. GlobalGiving is the catalyst for Casita Linda to reach contributors internationally and assist us in our mission. We thank all of our donors, both large and small, who make it possible to provide over twenty four houses per year for over one hundred and fifty impoverished individuals. We are only limited in helping families by the amount of money we receive. Ninety five prevent of the donations Casita Linda receives go directly to families in need.
Casita Linda has proven to it's donors that it will continue to create the best possible house for our impoverished families living outside of San Miguel de Allende Mexico. In April 2013, Casita Linda announced the launching of a Mexican National Design Competition for all Architects and students throughout the country. It will be judged this September by three of Mexico's most internationally recognized Architects: Victor Legorreta - Legorreta + Legorreta; Mauricio Rocha - Taller de Arquitectura; and Luis Sanchez-Renero - Sanchez Arcquitectos. This is a historic undertaking since this has never been done by any organization for the lowest income family living in Mexico. The submissions will be evaluated on aesthetics, cost, ease of construction, and earth friendly materials without sacrificing comfort for the families. The top three winners of the competition, along with the jurors, will be honored on October 12, 2013 at the Casita Linda, A.C. Spirit of Hope Gala at Las Ventanas in San Miguel de Allende. Casita Linda, A.C. will construct the winning design in December 2013.
We have continued our search for new materials and refined techniques to the point now that we have two full-time local work crews who are able produce two houses per month. Our last recipient of this home was the Reyes family who were living in a hand-made shelter of found materials (mostly cardboard). The parents and their six year old and eleven month old daughters lived on the Ejido community just on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende where they lived in constant fear that they would be robbed of what little that they had. The father had the only income as a night baker which produced a monthly salary of only 2,400 pesos. This income is considered to be extreme poverty as defined by the World Bank. They qualified for a new home to be constructed because of their low income, their ownership of the land, their dedication to keep the children educated, and the fact there was no history violence in the home. Each recipient is also required to help the crew build their home and Senor Reyes would come home from his night shift to dig the foundations for the house. He continued working until it was complete and the family could live secure and be comfortable.
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San Miguel de Allende,
San Miguel de Allende,