CSI Supports Peru

CSI supports good causes in Peru

For the past 2 years CSI has generously donated to improve living conditions in the Andes (central Peru).

In April 2013 CSI donated $6000 which sponsored months of dental services at schools in rural Peru. The work was performed by Dr. Shirly in Siquani with the help of a dental assistant which was overseen by CSI’s HSE Manager Larry Stewart.

Dr Shirly - Peru

Dr. Shirly at work

CSI Supports Peru: The project kicked off with an official ceremony which included dances, music and speeches. After the ceremony toothbrushes and toothpaste were given to each child in each classroom at the school. Dr. Shirly then began performing dental work on the children starting with the youngest working her way up to the oldest. She performed whatever dental was needed for the children on a case by case basis.

The project went on for months right up to Christmas 2013 with over 200 children receiving vital dental care. The oral health of the children from all the schools along with other children in the area were vastly improved by the generous donation by CSI along with the time of Larry Stewart and Dr. Shirly.

Larry Stewart returned to Peru in April 2014 along with another donation of $10,000 by CSI to support a hydroponics project in the municipality of San Pedro de Lloc (some 940 kms north of Lima along the northern coast of Peru). CSI anticipates that this year’s project will have a lasting impact that will bring aid to those who most need it for years to come.

This project is the brainchild of Daniel Heber PORTAL CASTAÑEDA who Larry met back in November. Daniel works for the municipality of San Pedro de Lloc. Since that time CSI has been in discussions with Daniel about how we could work with him on this worthy project.

The goal of the project is to provide sustainable economic development for the women in a coastal area of Peru through the creation of a guinea pig project that the women will participate in. CSI targeted women who struggle daily just to meet their basic needs. Examples of these women are unmarried mothers, widows, and women who must support large families.

Peruvian worker applying liquid calcium to Guinea Pig pens

Peruvian worker applying calcium

CSI’s aim is to provide these women with education and support to plan for their future.

In order to achieve success in this project Daniel has been diligently canvasing the area looking for landowners who are sympathetic to the aims of the project and who are willing to allow for the use of sections of their property to make this dream a reality. To date at least five different people have given us permission to use their property free of charge for this project.

The project may serve as a model to other regions in Peru, so the reach of this project may end up being far greater than we originally foresaw. This is why CSI is helping setting up a number of stations where guinea pigs will be raised. These stations not only house the guinea pigs, but also the facilities for growing the alfalfa feed hydroponically. This makes the project self-sustaining. The women will participate at these stations to learn how to feed and care for the guinea pigs and in the end learn how to set up their own stations to provide themselves with a source of income going forward.

Larry along with his wife spent 3 weeks in April to participate in the ‘kick-off’ of the project. Construction was begun on two of the sites; a larger site and another smaller site. Together these sites should be sufficient to raise over a thousand guinea pigs at any one time. Construction progressed over the next couple of weeks to the point where construction neared completion. The cages had been completed at both sites and a coat of liquid calcium had been applied. The calcium coating provides a disinfectant function to the animals’ cages. All that remained was the mounting of a roof over each facility.

The philosophy at the heart of the project can best be summed up by the ancient saying, “It is better to teach someone how to fish than to give him a fish.” Substitute guinea pig for fish and you has the essence of CSI’s project. CSI’s vision is that many women in the area will be able to provide for themselves and their families by setting up their own stations modeled after the facilities we are building. This has a lot of potential since the guinea pig or cuy in Spanish is a highly valued delicacy in Peru.

Guinea Pig pens in Peru

Finished Guinea Pig pens

Since April the roofs have been built and the second phase has started. The second phase is where the feed pods are built. In this phase, alfalfa ‘mats’ for want of a better word, will be grown. Each mat should provide feed for the guinea pigs for a week. By that time the next mat will have ripened and thus it continues. Once the first mat is ready the guinea pigs or cuys will be brought in and the work with the women can begin. To date 40 plus women have applied to the program and 5 have been nominated for the first round. CSI is also looking at putting announcements over local radio stations so that a larger amount of women can be reached.

We hope to have stories of the way CSI Canada Safety is impacting the lives of women in Peru in the future. We expect that the project will be fully operational by the end of July at the latest.