Monday, March 7, 2011

Help Casa Base!

Casa Base

As many of you already know every week Manna travels to La Chureca to run its weekly programs;  Megan and Matt to teach the beginner's English class, Zach and Amanda to teach the intermediate English class, and Joanna, Katie, Dane, Luke, and Will to run the Child Sponsorship Program.  Located in La Chureca as well is the health clinic, Casa Base, in which the  child sponsorship team works with to help host its weekly 'charlas' on various health-related topics.  Casa Base is one of the only clinics in the area and provides assistance to the nearly 200 families that live in La Chureca.  Unfortunately, because of the lack of funding,  the clinic is closed as of right now and is going to continue to be closed for the month of March until sufficient funds can be raised. 

The situation: 
    • Since 2006, MPI and another non-profit, Austin Samaritans have financially supported the clinic.
    • As we wait to hear if Austin Samaritans will be able to provide its half of the budget, MPI is seeking the remaining funds needed for 2011 or seeking another funding source to help. (we will know by the end of March).
    • The total operating cost is $48,000/year which provides for all medicine and treatments the clinic offers as well as salaries for the Nica health staff of 2 doctor, 1 pharmacist, 1 nurse and 1 health promoter. 
    • As of right now, MPI only has enough funding through February, which has already ended, and is seeking the remaining $4,000 in monthly support for operating expenses in 2011

The people living in La Chureca are extremely poor, many living off less than one dollar a day, which is what the World Bank classifies as a level of "extreme poverty".  Many of the residents make a living by digging through the mounds of trash in search of some sort of collectible scrap, such as glass bottles, metal, or cans, to turn in for money.  For most this money is necessary to provide them with an evening meal.  Because of the proximity to the trash, the daily fires burning the trash, and the overall lack of sanitation, this environment is a breeding ground for disease.  Needless to say, these people rely upon the free assistance that they receive from Casa Base, and to think that this clinic is not going to be available to them is unsettling.  Below are two links that will take you to sites where you can read more about the clinic and the specific work it does.  The second is a video that is a couple of years dated but none the less paints a picture of the clinic's significance and work in the community.

It is always uncomfortable asking people for money, at least for me, but thinking about the people of La Chureca living without the clinic and their ability to get access to healthcare for them and their children is even more unsettling.  So if you would like to donate money towards keeping open the health clinic of Casa Base please visit fundraising site at or mail a check to MPI, PO Box 121052, Nashville, TN 37212.  Be sure and designate “Chureca clinic” online or in the memo space of a check.  And please help spread the word.  Your help is greatly appreciated!

La Chureca

Another photo of La Chureca

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