Arenas community in Guanica has been affected by natural disasters. The community has come together to propose the creation of a resilient center, which would host a food bank, a communal kitchen, a medical dispensary and a supply center to respond during emergencies; a library, an elderly center, and a gym with the main purpose to care for the mind, spirit and soul. Also, a community garden, a sewing workshop and printing press, to provide a hopeful sustainable and self-managed future.
Arenas is in the most remote corner of Guanica, surrounded by mountains. With only one bridge connecting the community to the urban center, it is particularly at risk during natural disasters. Loss of power, water, and communication as a result of such disasters especially affects the community's elderly, who make up around 50% of their population. The community has pressing needs in terms of emergency preparedness, specifically related to health, recreation, food security, and sustainability.
The center will be equipped with the infrastructure for solar energy and water storage, as well as radio and satellite communication technologies, which will ensure its ability to continue serving the community during an emergency. It will focus on preventive medicine to ensure the wellbeing of the community members prior to an emergency. Additionally, by embracing solidary and social economic perspectives, its businesses will allow community members to acquire skills and be self-employed.
With a focus on sustainability and self-management, this center has great potential to continue meeting the community's needs as they face new disasters. It will be run by community members, who will, in turn, train other community members, thus helping develop their self-reliance and ensuring the continued wellness of the community. Through alliances with organizations such as Nuestra Escuela, they will be able to make their dreams come true and continue this important work for many years.