Spring has sprung here in San Miguel and Casita Linda families on the waiting list are thankful the cold weather has passed. The Board of Directors, building crew, and volunteers are moving forward as fast as we can to provide suitable housing for deserving recipients here in our community. Board member Kim Slote recently wrote a letter to her friends and family that beautifuly describes the new workshops we've implemented for the women of Casita Linda homes and the impact these workshops are having on their lives.
Dear friends and family,
I know that you are all super busy and have your own causes that you donate to, but I hope that you'll read all the way through my email :)
As many of you know, I am on the Board of Directors for Casita Linda (www.casitalinda.org), a very special non-profit organization here in my adopted home of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Casita Linda builds houses for the very poorest families in our city – people living in the most dilapidated shacks imaginable that are pieced together with plastic tarps, pieces of metal and scraps of wood (you can see an example in the attachment). The families put in dozens of hours of “sweat equity” and take tremendous pride in helping build their homes. Their lives are forever and fundamentally changed once they are in their new homes – just to have a solid roof over their heads, doors that lock, an indoor toilet, and concrete floors that don’t become mud baths in the rain…Everything that you and I take for granted in our own lives.
A couple of years ago, we made the commitment to provide more than just houses, though. Now we give the families mattresses and bedframes, warm blankets, clothing, solar lights, eco stoves, and basic furniture. It’s our way of helping them make the house a real home.
Our newest commitment as of 2016 is to help these families become as successful as possible, despite their extreme poverty. To this end we’ve hired two extraordinary women, Ilian Barrera and Magda Perez, to provide two workshops a week to the mothers of our Casita Linda families in the Nueva Pantoja neighborhood that we have been focusing on for the past 20+ houses. The topics that they have covered so far include self-esteem, value systems, goal-setting, nutrition, personal hygiene, child-rearing, family communication, and the importance of education for their children’s future. Please open the attachment to see some photos of the workshops.
I’m reaching out to you to ask if you might consider a donation to Casita Linda at this time – either to help pay for the cost of a new house or to help us cover the cost of the next three months of workshops for the moms (donations are tax deductible). This next series of workshops will focus on sexuality, birth control, safe sex, domestic violence, child abuse, and drug/alcohol addiction. What I am personally very excited about is that the workshop facilitators are also teaching the women community advocacy skills and showing them that they can advocate for their rights. Already the women have met with the mayor to ask that basic services, such as water, electricity and paved roads, be brought into their neighborhood. And soon they will be learning how to initiate reforestation and organic gardening projects to their community. Ilian and Magda are also helping bring teachers to the community to provide continuing education for the moms in small groups where they live so that they can get either middle or high school degrees.
These workshops are an exciting new step forward for Casita Linda. I hope that you will join Casita Linda on this journey of empowerment, personal growth and community development for our families.
Thank you a million times over!!!