In October 1998, Hurricane “Mitch” raged through Central America causing thousands of deaths and great material damage. The entire area of “Malacatoya”, an expansive rural community in the department of Granada, was flooded up to five feet for six days. In August 1999 the foundation Casa de los Tres Mundos initiated the rural development project “Los Angeles/Malacatoya”, aiming to offer help to the population impaired by the disaster along the river Malacatoya.
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A DIFFICULT SITUATION
Hurricane Mitch triggered our activities in Malacatoya. However, the area of Malacatoya had already been a troubled region in terms of basic needs, housing, environmental issues and economy. There is still no technical and social infrastructure, nor medical or educational facilities, etc.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The primary objective was to construct a new community for the victims of the disaster, located on more secure, higher ground. A secondary objective is to improve the quality of life, for example by creating jobs, through such projects as bricklaying, carpentry, paper manufacture and beekeeping. Since March 2002, the Casa de Los Tres Mundos also offers music and painting classes, clown and theater workshops for children in the region. In addition, we have constructed a sculpture park. Huge copies of indigenous statues will give back to the people a piece of their history and identity.
PRINCIPLES OF OUR WORK
It is one of the principles of our foundation not only to provide the basics in projects such as this newly constructed settlement, but also to improve the general quality of life of the rural population of the Departamento Granada in terms of employment, infrastructure, cultural and environmental measures.
Several initiatives make up our rural development project in Malacatoya. These include creating jobs by starting small enterprises, providing medical and educational facilities and installing cultural activities. Participation of the local population in the planning and realization of the various activities is what makes the project unique.
The general guidelines of our activities in Malacatoya include the following
- Every project component is realized by locals only,
- We only initiate and consult,
- All participants have a right to speak (participative principle),
- We jointly look for more economic alternatives,
- There is no complete subsidizing of the project,
- We include adequate local capital resources.
STRUCTURE OF THE VILLAGE
The new settlement with a total area of 11.97 hectare is clearly structured and has a hierarchically arranged road network. All public facilities are grouped around the central park, the school, kindergarten, women’s shelter, health center, civil defense and community center. The remaining area has been divided into equal plots for the 131 homes, all of them detached houses with a garden of 400m². This size is sufficient for hosting workshops, small animal breeding or growing a kitchen garden for personal needs.
The project was financed by
- Pan y Arte
- European Union
- City of Dordrecht
- Club Rotario
- City of Granada
- BmaA Austria
- German Embassy
- Beta Wonen, Dordrecht.