San Francisco de Asis Community Center, Peru

Lake Union Crew Outreach Foundation's Time Talent Treasure Exchange program traveled to Peru from December 2009 to February 2010 to build a Community Center, garden and workshop for San Francisco de Asis.

Established in 1994, San Francisco de Asis is a small community of mountain people who moved closer to Lima looking for a better life. With almost no resources, they settled on a barren stretch of sand and began to forge their community.

Since then they have grown to 2,700 people, 1,800 of which are children. Most adults work in domestic roles in Lima and are away from home over 12 hours each day, leaving their children alone for equally long hours. The average adult wage is $2/day, which places San Francisco de Asis in Peru's extreme poverty category.

Community Center

In 2006 community leaders of San Francisco de Asis began to plan a Community Center to address their community's most dire needs. In conjunction with a local non-governmental organization, they created a sustainable model to provide:

  • Daily care of children, from recently born to 5 years old, while their parents work
  • School support and skill development for children age 6 to 17 years old
  • Ault training in productive skill development to join the work force
  • A meeting center for community meetings and large assembly
  • The coordination center of Health, Education, Skill Training and other sectors that will provide services to the community
  • A communal kitchen to teach and promote good nutrition for children and elderly

LUC Outreach Foundation joined the project in early 2009, when the community was ready to proceed but lacked resources to begin construction.

Through the generosity of our donors and members, LUCOF assembled what amounted to a building-in-a-box in Seattle, and shipped it to Lima in October, 2009.

LUCOF volunteers arrived in early November to commence site preparation, including the construction of volunteer quarters. Each week as the current group of volunteers bid farewell to their Peruvian friends, new volunteers arrived to continue the work.  In the course of 10 weeks, Centro Comunal San Francisco de Asis was born, ready to serve the model envisioned by the local community.

Garden, Shop, Playground

In discussions with the local community we proposed the addition of a terraced garden sustained by grey water from the Community Center. The community eagerly adopted the plan, in order to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the communal kitchen. The final design encompassed 5 terraces.

The tools and equipment purchased remain on site for the use of the local community. This equipment includes all the tools necessary to outfit a woodworking shop, which is now located on the community center grounds in one of the casitas that served as volunteer sleeping quarters during the project. This shop expands the vocational opportunities for the residents.  Other casitas have been relocated to provide additional community services.

Lastly, the existing playground equipment was rusted and missing many components such as swings and teeter-totters need seats. That playground equipment was refurbished, and a new toddler playground was installed at the community center daycare.