Project Completed: 25 May 2005
Peruti is an indigenous village of the Guarani ethnicity located in the middle of the Misiones jungle in the Northeast of Argentina, more than 1,500 kilometers from the City of Buenos Aires, where we travel every month to bring humanitarian assistance to the community members.
The community is made up of 85 families, reaching a population of 492 people, who live in a state of abject poverty. Over 75% of the children in Peruti suffer the consequences of malnourishment to some extent. There is a rural primary school in the community, sustained by the provincial government who pays the salary of 4 teachers as well as a subsidy of 40 Argentine Peso Centavos per child per day for 3 meals: breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. These 13 cents of a US dollar only afford a cup of milk and a piece of bread, and thus support from the private sector is essential for this soup kitchen. In the last decade their environment has been greatly affected by excessive deforestation that has resulted in a loss of biodiversity. Instead of the native forestation there are only pine trees, which produce long fiber for cellulose paste which is used to make paper. This ecological imbalance resulted in the migration of a native wildlife due to the lack of food. The hydroelectric dam Yacireta has generated the extinction of fish, which has resulted in the native peoples abandoning key customs. Currently many produce artisan handy crafts that they sell in order to survive. One of the major problems that this community faced was the lack of clean drinking water, a necessity for human survival and development. There was only one water pump in the school which could only be used for the necessities of that establishment. All of the inhabitants of the village had to go to a small stream to collect water to drink and cook with. The distance that some had to travel there and back was more than 4 kilometers, which made is extremely difficult to transport such a precious liquid. The spring water is clean, until its contact with the air, insects, and small animals. Because of this reality, L.I.F.E. initiated the "Water for Peruti" project whose objective was to provide this community with safe drinking water in order to reduce childhood mortality, skin diseases and other diseases related to poor levels of hygiene and sanitation. We dug 120 meters dee to reach clean water where a pump could be placed to make it accessible. The access to drinking water improved the quality of life of the population in this area. It has created better personal hygiene habits, promoted the washing of dishes and utensils, which prevents diarrhea and gastrointestina infections that frequently take the lives of the youngest children.
Project completed: 20 August 2006
L.I.F.E. began to work with the Tren de Chocolate Community Center in 2002. The center, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, at that time was in very poor condition: it was made of wood, didn't have windows or doors, and the roof was about to collapse. Initially, the cost of building a new center seemed like an unimaginable amount that we could never raise. But Melissa, a volunteer who was in Buenos Aires for just
3 weeks, organi2ed a fundraising campaign in her Spanish school and raised US$400. We used that to begin the groundwork. This was the first, fundamental step. Ever since then we've been working on the community center. Up until now, we have completed the 40 square meters building with brick and cement walls, a secure roof, 2 doors, 2 windows, a water tank, plumbing, pipes for hot and cold water,
a septic tank, electricity and light fixtures. On Sunday, August 20, 2006, we inaugurated the first stage of our Tren de Chocolate Community Center. It was truly a dream come true. About 100 families attended the inauguration. We filled the place with balloons and served snacks. Barney and Spiderman even showed up and entertained the kids! We appreciate all those who helped make this dream a reality. We'd especially like to th nk Melissa from the U.S., Isla High and Chris Ford from London; and Pier from Denmark. They all invited their family and friends to join in the fundraising efforts. And finally we'd like to th nk Henry Jones who loyally donates a percentage of his income each month to support our work in the Tren de Chocolate Community Center.
Current L.I.F.E. Project
In spite of the warnings by scientists and environmentalists, Argentina destroys increasingly more and more forests everyday. Between 2002
and 2006, deforestation in this country grew 42% compared to the period between 1998 and 2002. The rate of deforestation in the country is
six times higher than the world average. The cutting down of trees has destroyed more than 1 million hectares of land according to the statistics from the national Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development in June 2007. In the province of Mis rones, many native species with hard wood have been down and replaced with soybean plants or coniferous trees because their long fiber results in profit for the cellulose paste industry. This has resulted in a great loss of biodiversity and much of the wildlife is at the point of extinction. As human beings we depend on ecosystems for essential services: the supply of food, materials and clean water, absorption of carbon dioxide, protection from erosion of the land, as well as a source of the great number of uses for agriculture. The loss biodiversity puts these vital services at great risk.
Our mission is to turn around this tendency and reintroduce native forestry to the area. The objective of this project is to establish the appropriate foundation from which to initiate the reforestation of the area, applying expert knowledge in order to maximize the positive results. Our vision is to be the responsible actor, using good practices, in order for this project to succeed. With the aid of agriculture specialists, L.I.F.E. aims to not only preserve the environmental treasures, but to also provide employment for the residents of Peruti. Through careful planning and an organized process, the re-introduction of forests in northern Argentina will benefit both the local community and the natural habitat.