GritoBlast! — In April 2015, a volunteer artist cooperative known as Arte Intercultural Vilcabamba (AIV), was launched in Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador, South America. In two short years, the artist cooperative transformed themselves into a service organization with a single mission — to fund a library for the children of the mountainous, impoverished region.
The 20 active volunteers work with about 60 children a week from the mountainous Region Sierra. In January 2017, the library became a physical reality as a semi-permanent rental space. The group’s rental space in the village hosts their after-school program which runs three days a week: one hour of reading, one hour of English learning, one hour of art activities, and one hour set-up/clean-up.
On Saturdays, they haul some of their books to the Organic Farmer’s Market, so that they can read, listen and share real books with children of all ages.
Because to the families living in this region have limited access to book, books are priceless assets. Therefore, AIV donates about 70 hours a month to making books available to kids who want access to them as there are no other options in this tiny village.
Parents know that teaching their children to be bilingual makes a career near home far more likely than risking life and limb to emigrate ‘al norte.’
So far, the organization’s success is because of the sacrifice of the volunteers to sustain the program with their own time, talents, and dollars.
However, looking ahead, AIV knows they need funding to sustain their facility, and to secure furnishings, buying used bilingual books, shipping costs (from the states), and school supplies as they grow to serve more children in need. Also, to thrive and flourish as an organization, they need the strong leadership of a dedicated program director.
For everything on their wish list, AIV volunteers break down their 2017-2018 budget to $705/month, or $8,458 to run the entire program and hire a director.
The crowdfunding campaign ends July 22, 2017.