In efforts to build a self-sufficient, self-sustaining community, Corazón offers a construction course to teach participants many of the skills they need for normal household tasks, from home repairs, to furniture making. The classes are taught by guest instructors, or by former class graduates within a given community. Participants can exchange their community service hours for the materials that they need for these repairs. Materials usually consist of refurbished wood and other building materials generously donationed.
Joana Ortega Garcia, pictured Left, is making furniture out of refurbished lumber for her home. In order to receive the materials necessary to make her furniture, Joana exchanged fifteen of her community service hours.
“I have learned many useful things from this course. Dave, our instructor, has showed me how to cut the lumber that I am currently using to make some much needed furniture in our families’ home”
Joana Ortega Garcia (23)
Another participant, Rocio Ramirez-Reyes, pictured below with two of her five children, noted that Corazón’s construction program has helped her gain independence, becoming not only self-sufficient but empowering her as a woman as well.
“I’ve learned many things that I didn’t know before. It’s even changed my way of thinking. Before I thought, because I was a woman, there were certain things that were a man’s responsibility, but I don’t feel the same anymore. My husband asks me why I don’t wait until he finds time to do things, but if I could fix something or do something, I do it!”
DAVID AND MAYRA’S STORY
Each community’s construction program is structured to have a construction coordinator and a sustainable development coordinator. David Vilasenor and Mayra Lopez, pictured above with their family, are both leaders in their communities. David serves as the sustainable development coordinator while his wife Mayra, is the construction coordinator. Together they have four children and have passionately expressed their gratitude for Corazon and its programs. David has expressed the impact the construction program has had on their family. Before, their home was crowded with little space for their kids to move around, there were much needed repairs, and they lacked the skills, tools, and money, to change their circumstances. Their participation in Corazón’s construction program has given them the skills and tools needed to better their own living conditions, and the nature of the Corazón program has prompted them to share those skills to help thier neighbors build similar additions to their homes. This is what makes the program so special. Our participants know that they are not in this alone. Even more importantly, they do not have to rely on American volunteers for help, they can turn to their neighbors.