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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2007 Projects

June 30, 2007

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your June 2007 report for The $10 Club. I apologize for the late contact this month. I’ve been out of the country for most of the month of June for work.

In Villa Elisa, a town located on the outskirts of La Plata, Argentina, shoeless children play unsupervised in the trash-infested streets and return at night to cardboard and wood makeshift structures that they call home.

In the heart of the poverty-stricken area of Villa Elisa lies a community center named Association Apoyo Familiar Casa del Niño Arco Iris (Arco Iris). Estimuladores (motivators) serve as positive role models for children at Arco Iris, engaging the kids who attend in social and educational activities, and providing them with some much-needed attention. The overarching goal of Arco Iris is to build trust and unity among the community it serves, thus paving the way for a more cohesive community in which people can work together on projects that will help them escape poverty. A significant aspect of this work is reaching out to children.

The desire of children to play is universal, and the kids in Villa Elisa are no different. Sadly, too many children there have been robbed of their childhood and are forced to work or travel to La Plata with their parents to beg for money. When at home in the slums of Villa Elisa, many children must cook, clean and look after their siblings and/or cousins. For most of these kids, the only escape from this reality is their time spent at Arco Iris. Currently, Arco Iris does not have adequate facilities and supplies to meet the demand from local children, and the play area is little more than a filthy field.

The California-based Foundation for Sustainable Development has requested assistance in turning this dilapidated, polluted ground next to the Arco Iris community center into a children’s playground. Building this playground will address youth development in the marginalized area of Villa Elisa and will bring community members together to work toward a common goal—a clean and safe place for their children to play.

This month, 375 of us joined together to fund the construction of the new playground in Villa Elisa. Our grant will support the salary of local men to do the construction, and pay for the wood, cement, sand, nails and screws, a slide, swing set, tire swing, monkey bars, basketball hoop, basketballs, soccer nets, soccer balls, jump ropes, hoola hoops, and bicycles. Thank you.

It is expected that building the playground will take two weeks of labor with eight men working full time. Supervisors at Arco Iris have talked to members of the community, and located 8 fathers of children that attend the day center to participate in the construction. All eight men live within the marginalized area of Villa Elisa and are well connected to this community. Arco Iris will request additional community members to volunteer their time with cleanup and construction.

The simple act of playing in a safe, secure, enriching environment increases a child's self-esteem, improves dexterity and physical fitness, and opens a young mind to new possibilities by developing social, verbal, and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, the creation of a playground at Arco Iris will allow more families to take advantage of the programs offered at the center and decrease the number of kids roaming the streets in Villa Elisa.

Although not near the bottom of the list of impoverished countries on the planet, according to the United Nations Development Programme, in Argentina from 1995 to 2002 “the number of poor people has nearly doubled, with about half the population now below the poverty line. The future of the next generation is at stake…in some provinces children under five account for three out of five people in poverty.”

So the next time you drive by a playground and see children enjoying the freedom of unbridled play, I hope you’ll take a moment to think of the similar joy that you have just brought to Argentinean children thousands of miles away.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org