"Empowering low resource communities through education, infrastructure, and research."
Water Tank and Latrines
During the summer of 2014 volunteers from Harvard and University of McMaster joined forces to aid the rural Bolivian community of Monte Olivos. This community of roughly five-hundred people did not have any bathrooms or a method of attaining clean water. They originally had to walk to the river, which was two kilometers away. The volunteers and board were able to construct two latrines for the community as well as a water tank. These items were built for a nascent multi-functional center that is in construction in the middle of the community. Refresh Bolivia's work marked the beginning of construction on the multi-functional center.
Logistics, Funding and Collaborations
The funds for this project came as a result of our organization's fundraising throughout the year as well as the donations of our volunteers. The projects were construction with the collaboration of Hughes School - a bilingual school in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The school graciously was able to provide us with engineers that worked free of charge, as well as extra volunteers from their school. The volunteers truly enjoyed meeting these high schoolers and getting to know more about their country through them.
In order to find a work site we rely on our Bolivian NGO partners Santa Maria Del Camino, as they are a parish that contains 25,000 individuals and always know the community that will be the most receptive to aid. The community of Monte Olivos showed their dedication to obtaining water technology by working beside the volunteers and demonstrating their knowledge for caring for latrines and water tanks.
Logistically, the materials were purchased by the engineers. Given the caliber of the engineers they were able to find the highest quality materials for discounted prices. Construction was done with higher quality material than in the past and the latrines and water tank are expected to last 25 years.
Extras: Physician Shadowing, Orphanages and Exploring
In addition to building the latrines and water tank the volunteers were also able to volunteer in other ways through our partners - San Lucas Foundation and Santa Maria Del Camino. Through these organizations the volunteers were able to fully immerse themselves in Bolivian culture by shadowing physicians, volunteering at an orphanage and evaluating children for disabilities. In addition to these activities volunteers also enjoyed visiting the second tallest statue of Jesus in the world, tasting Bolivian cuisine in the city of Cochabamba and getting lost in the crazy open markets of Bolivia.