Casita Linda: Safe, Secure and Healthy Housing

Jacek Gawron

Casita Linda enables families to move from dirt-floor shacks into homes with concrete floors, separate bedrooms for girls and boys, a real bathroom, actual windows, a water cistern and rain water catchment system, basic furniture, and doors that lock. We have now delivered 123 houses in the municipality of San Miguel de Allende and are currently completing 3 houses in the community of San Miguel Viejo.

Moving into a home that is safe and secure we came to know the families we build homes for, we learned more about the huge challenges they face in their daily lives, and they inspired us to do more. So Casita Linda now offers a series of intensive workshops to the recipients of our homes. The workshops are led by two gifted and impressive Mexican women, one of whom is a social worker and the other a board member. Twice a week for at least nine months the women in a Casita Linda community gather to study, share, and work together. Their husbands join them for one of the sessions each week. Our workshops begin with topics such as goal-setting, nutrition, child care, home care, water conservation, organic gardening, making herbal remedies and other income-generating projects, and work up to such challenging issues as sexuality and family planning, addiction, and domestic violence.

We also work with other nonprofits to provide additional services and referrals for our Casita Linda families. Casita Linda works in harmony with Caminos de Agua in providing rainwater harvesting systems on all homes we build for our disadvantaged families in the rural communities of the municipality of San Miguel de Allende.

We have found over the years that the health of the families was being compromised by ingesting water that was contaminated by arsenic and fluoride, be it in their drinking water or the water they were cooking with. Since we began providing systems to capture rainwater, the health of the children has improved dramatically. The community shares in the construction of each system, thus forging ties that bind the families together and builds community awareness of the importance of pristine water. In Palo Colorado, a community in which we previously worked, we also provided a rain water catchment system to the primary school.

The workshops that we conduct and are mandatory for the parents of the families we build homes for stress the need for them to be acutely aware of the problems that can surface by ingesting water that is contaminated. We will continue to work with Caminos de Agua as we move forward with building more homes in more communities that will benefit from clean water. We are proud to work with other organizations in our community, including: ARMO System, Blanket Babes, Caminos de Agua, Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende, Libros para Todos, Rose Ann Hall Designs, Ted Davis Galería de Fotografía.

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