United4Change Center is the recipient of a global grant from the Rotary International Foundation. Ximena Murillo, President & CEO, said “for the past year, we’ve been working with three Rotary Clubs (Hobbs & Lovington, New Mexico, and San Jorge La Paz, Bolivia), two Rotary Districts (New Mexico and Bolivia), and local community leaders in developing a program intended to lift women and children out of multigenerational extreme poverty in Quime, a mining community hub town for 8 mining cooperatives. Bolivia. We have an evidence-informed model that has been developed in close collaboration with leaders with Quime such that it is culturally appropriate and that significant local buy-in has been achieved.”
While a village of approximately 2,500 residents, Quime is the epicenter of a larger rural area that is home to eight mining cooperatives. The village provides limited, but essential educational, medical, and retail support to the surrounding region. Like other mining communities in rural Bolivia, residents are severely challenged by low levels of literacy, very limited medical resources, and few opportunities for earning a living. Carla Murillo, U4C Consulting Economist, said “the residents of Quime display a strong entrepreneurial spirit, but barriers related to everyday health and welfare impede them from realizing their full potential in pursuing economic opportunities and improving the quality of life for their families. Enhancing adult literacy will enhance economic development and family well-being. Part of the initiative planned for Quime will specifically target literacy development among local women.”
The Director of Quime’s Hospital, Dr. Oscar Apaza, noted “health among women and mortality for children are tragically worse in rural as opposed to urban communities. Health challenges in rural communities like Quime are even further aggravated by an extreme lack of local healthcare compounded by a severe absence of understanding regarding how to effectively utilize healthcare services outside a medical emergency.”
The Rotary Foundation global grant will provide essential funding to support a year-long initiative targeted at enhancing general adult literacy and knowledge regarding the need for, and how to more effectively engage with, local medical resources with an emphasis on promoting wellness. Included in general adult literacy, participating women will be made aware of their civil rights and local resources to overcome challenges including domestic violence.
Another local representative stated “we have prepared for an initiative in Quime for several years and are very excited about the opportunity to launch this important work. U4C has developed a presence within Quime and trust among community leaders and residents. The considerable time already invested in developing local relationships in Quime has positioned U4C uniquely well to launch this much-needed initiative. The culture of U4C is guided by a deep respect for the communities it serves. In the case of Quime, we have a wonderful relationship with this beautiful community and its remarkable people.”
Ximena Murillo said, “we are deeply grateful to the Rotary International Foundation and our Rotary Club partners in La Paz (San Jorge Rotary Club) and both Hobbs and Lovington, New Mexico. For several years, we’ve enjoyed critically needed support from the Rotary Clubs in both Hobbs and Lovington. Our colleagues in the San Jorge (La Paz) Rotary Club are also helping us on the ground in Quime. Partnerships are as important to our work as the funding that has been made available for this project. U4C is deeply committed to partnering with all like-minded individuals and organizations in alleviating extreme poverty wherever possible.”