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August 1, 2010

posted Aug 23, 2010, 1:26 PM by Henrik Mitsch   [ updated Jan 27, 2013, 8:39 AM ]
Dear friends,

The Center for Development with Dignity is a busy place this summer with each of us spending 5 weeks there between July and September. Since June we've been working on a research project that explores the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs similar to Building Dignity in La Paz/El Alto, Bolivia and Lima, Peru. The objective of the project is to contribute to the literature on development NGOs while also learning from the experiences of others so as to improve our own work. Our Bolivian colleagues are excited about our work in Peru. Henrik Mitsch and César Flores finished the Spanish version of our web site ( and community leaders in Bolivia have loved looking at the colorful site and reading about the work of the Center.

Building Dignity is also very excited to welcome a new member to our team: Kayla Richards. A 2010 graduate of Macalester College, Kayla will be moving to Lima in September for six months to be our new program coordinator. Kayla will be helping us to improve the Center for Development with Dignity and expand our programming.

During the two months that all four Building Dignity directors will be in La Encantada, we have a number of projects we hope to undertake. We have begun a series of community workshops and events and we will be conducting a survey of the neighborhood (developed by Oxford students this past year) that will provide valuable information about the community and its needs. We also have a few projects in which we invite all of our supporters to participate:
  1. The Building Dignity Library: The Center for Development with Dignity is already the home to a small collection of human rights information, educational materials, and children’s fiction. The library will get a boost this summer when Paul and Emily arrive with new contributions of Spanish-language children books. With the help of donations, we hope to establish a vibrant and relevant library collection that meets the needs of activists as well as students.

  2. The Activist Resource Center: The principle objective of Building Dignity is to provide support to La Encantada community leaders. We are happy to offer laptop computers for public use. This summer, we plan to install Internet in the center so that our neighborhood activists can organize and connect.

  3. Furnishings: We plan to continue improving our physical space through the addition of bookshelves, tables, and a colorful sign on the building exterior.

  4. Program Budget: With Kayla moving to La Encantada to work full-time for Building Dignity, we are hoping to establish regular programming for leaders, young people, and students. We are hoping to raise funds for the curriculum and resources necessary for these services. The first program offered is a five-week series of workshops for adolescent girls, focused on leadership and human rights. It began this past Thursday with a great turnout on the first day!
Martha, Emily, Jesús, Pablo, and Kayla are looking forward to the work ahead. We thank you for your continued support of the La Encantada community.

--Pablo and Emily