Money raised by CDUK goes a long way because our volunteers work directly with the people who need our support. Below is the completed Carlos Almiron Woman and Child Development Center, in a shantytown in Florencia Varela, Argentina, built by local people in their spare time with funding from CDUK.

Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs and homes after a financial crash in Argentian in 2001 when money was devalued by two thirds. The banks closed and people were left only with what they had in their pockets.

After the shock, they were resilient. They got work doing gardening and odd jobs as builders and labourers, then built their own rudimentary houses from whatever they could find on tips or dumps, or materials they bought with their small wages.

Many single mothers, often victims of violence and abuse, struggle to find work and look after their children.  Many young children do not go to school because they have to look after their younger siblings or their elderly and infirm grandparents on the ramshackle shantytowns. There are no homes for the elderly here, sometimes they go onto the streets to die alone.

When CDUK were asked to help, we were able to raise the money to pay for the materials for them to build their own vitally needed woman and child development center.  

The people worked in teams on Sundays.  The building was constructed by the local community in consultation with one of our trustees and has a large community room, kitchen and an organic garden with an orchard to supplement the poor diet of the residents.

The center annually supports 100 mothers with young children, many of whom are victims of violence and abuse.

Carlos Almiron provides emotional, educational and social support, respite, advice and useful training workshops. The emphasis is on self-help activities which lead to a financially productive and safer independent future.

Morning activities include activities with: professional social workers, psychologists and lawyers, discuss addiction, violence and anger management, sexual health and hygiene, AIDs/HIV and family planning, childcare and parenting skills, legal rights, employment opportunities, budgeting, and nutrition.

Afternoon activities focus on: the creative arts and culture, reading, writing, local industries, gardening, and care of the local environment.

CDUK’s grant paid for the construction of the building and for the professionals to assist clients for six months until the Argentine government took over the running of the project.

The center has provided a safe refuge and a learning area where people support each other and move on to a brighter future with hope.