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April 2, 2011

posted Apr 2, 2011, 7:35 AM by Henrik Mitsch   [ updated Jan 27, 2013, 8:41 AM ]
Dear friends,

December through February was Building Dignity's busiest period since the 2009 inauguration of the Center for Development with Dignity, with volunteers leading a host of activities.

Susie Taylor, of Portage, Wisconsin led a team of SoulsideOut volunteers test -- Athene Bryce-Rogers, Sadie Luetmer, and David Schiaffino -- on a month-long volunteer trip to La Encantada. Susie writes:

“The Center has been a hot spot of creativity and budding vision. We joined forces with Jesús, Martha, Emily, Naomi Nanez, and Australians Maddie Willis and Laura Stockdale to run a dance camp and empowerment workshop, teach English, inaugurate the Library of Dignity, paint a mural, build a garden, and deliver a new tiled floor to the bathroom!

¡Clases de Baile! Dancing to Shakira and Usher the kids met and practiced in the center two hours a day. At the end of the camp, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and dancers headed to the park, plugged in the speakers, and put on a fabulous show. Giggling and playing, the kids bounced through their well-rehearsed routines against a backdrop of Villa. Epico.

Empowerment Workshop:
Twice a week, in 2-hour segments, a dozen girls worked with Naomi to articulate their visions. Through painting and photography the girls shared their dreams and aspirations, and identified the attributes they possess that can make those dreams obtainable realities. The creativity and passion that emerged in these sessions was inspiring.


English Classes:
Whoa! The first day ushered 40 new students through the Building Dignity door! The interest was potent, energetic, and focused. Kids filed in with notebooks and eager faces. Sadie and Susie had their hands full the first day until we limited class sizes to maintain the integrity of the lessons. The kids split into smaller groups and worked hard, moving quickly from colors and body parts into the difficulty of verb conjugations. Voices could be heard ringing through library and common room, “I am…you are… we are… going!”

Mural:
We attacked the back room and painted the regions of Peru in vivid colors (photos below). From the Ocean to the shore, through La Encantada, the desierto, up the foothills to the mountains, across the Amazon, into the jungle; in each environment their own animales and plantitas. The final installation went in as the kids painted their hands in technicolor and left their own print on their walls.

Garden:
In our final week the Soulside volunteers hauled in dirt and plants until the garden breathed with green. The kids did the planting: one to free the roots, one to hold and carry, another to dig a hole, and the collective to finish the job. We did our research and feel confident that with the limited light our indoor garden will continue to grow. It makes a tremendous reading room and brings life to the Center.

Our weeks in La Encantada were inspiring and an honor to participate in. The Soulside thanks Building Dignity, Maddie, Laura, Emily, Naomi, Jesús & Martha, and the community at large. We are lucky to participate in this project; our aim is to continue providing a wider audience with an intimate window into the activities shaping this vibrant persevering community.”


Additional Recent Highlights

Programming: 9-week puppet-making workshop series; TV and Radio Communications classes
; Saturday Coffeehours with neighborhood activists.

Personnel: As planned, we have begun paying modest salaries to Peruvian staff and Peruvian instructors. Non-Peruvian staff and volunteers will always donate their time and expenses.

Infrastructure: Internet upgraded to Wi-Fi; bathrooms finished (showers!)
; new bookshelves.


Coming Soon: Leadership Fellowship Program!

In April, Emily and Jesús will lead a team of 10 veteran neighborhood activists in a five-week process of designing and initiating the first round of Building Dignity’s leadership fellowship program. This committee plans to begin soliciting applicants in May. Proposals for projects in the Lomo de Corvina region will be due in June and the first cohort of fellows will implement their projects beginning in July and August. Fellows will meet weekly to support each other in pursuing projects in their individual neighborhoods. We’re really excited to launch this program!

Thanks to all Jan/Feb/Mar volunteers: Emma Kaplan, Mary Ellen Dingley, César Flores, Naomi Nanez, Tito y sus Títeres (puppets), Maddie & Laura, and the SoulSideOut team
(Susie, Athene, Sadie, David).

¡Muchas gracias!
--Paul


P.S. If you are one of our donors, please consider making your 2011 contribution early in the year to help even out our cash flow, since donations are concentrated in December. We appreciate your generosity!

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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 2, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Apr 4, 2011, 8:02 AM
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