SDOP continues to make a difference ...
By Teresa Bidart
Since 1970 the Presbyterian Committee of the Self Development of People has assisted the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in carrying out its global commitment to work toward the self-development of economically poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people who own, control, and benefit directly from projects that promote long-term change in their lives and communities.
This commitment has surpassed the borders of the United States and has reached communities in many isolated corners of the world. The following story is from a capital of the Chimborazo Province in central Ecuador. The city is an important regional transport center as well as being a stop on the Pan-American Highway that runs through Ecuador. Riobamba stands as one of the largest cities in the central portion of Ecuador's Sierra region.
The project funded in 2006 was for the construction of a community center for members of the Association of Social Participation Los Puruhaes to provide educational and cultural services to the community; sales of indigenous crafts to tourist will support the Center and sales of products will be used by the Association members. They are adding a third floor to the building where they will install weaving machines, provide veterinarian services to the community, training in community development and opportunity recovery for ancestral culture for youth.
After 6 years of having the community center the report from this group is a song of hope. The changes in the group members living conditions are remarkable:
“In the community center first floor we have 5 rooms. In addition to the handcrafts shop we have rooms to accommodate people that are working in Riobamba and need to stay a night in the city. We sell blouses, ponchos, and handbags at the handcraft shop. The shop opens Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Thursday we go to the Guamote marketplace to sell our products, on Saturdays we go to the Riobamba marketplace, and on Sundays we go to Cajabamba. The women in the group are responsible for selling, they do it in groups of two and because there are 11 women, each of them does the selling every two months. The Board controls the accounting. The profit is divided for center maintenance, sewing materials, and group members’ family’s needs.
We have a weaving workshop located at the back of the center. We make ponchos, scarves, and other handcrafts because these articles are part of our way of life. Other community members have asked for sewing and weaving trainings, which we have provided.
On the second floor we have the office where when we do the accounting and treasurer activities. Thanks to God we are not having any problem and everybody is working for our families benefit and our Society. We also have three rooms where we allow women to stay when they finish working late at night.
Once again thank you. Because of your support our lives have changed, we have improved health, our diets are much better, our children are receiving an education, and our family living conditions have greatly improved.
Self Development of People is very proud of this partnership and continues to engage in new ones in different parts of the world.
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