Centro comunitario (community centre) in Laja Tambo

Centro comunitario (community centre) in Laja Tambo

Opening Centro Comunitario Laja Tambo

On the 28th of March 2017, a dream came true in Laja Tambo near Potosí: opening of the community centre. Everyone is very happy with this multifunctional building providing a simple kitchen, 4 public toilets with a septic tank and 2 hand basins. These are the first real sanitary facilities in Laja Tambo, which also benefits the students. Progress indeed!

A flash- back: our first visit to Laja Tambo

In 2013 things were very different in Laja Tambo…. It was then that our coordinator Enrique Paz was approached by 9 enterprising village women of this hamlet of only a few adobe[1] houses without electricity or sewage system, a small school, a basketball court and 2 public water taps. In 2012 the enterprising mothers had built a community room with their own hands and limited resources. This simple construction without windows and a simple zinc roof did not provide enough shelter from the cold Altiplano wind and rain. There was no floor, and no money available for building materials and the women asked for our help in finishing this building. We quickly discovered however that this type of construction would not be a good basis for further building and delved into the problems, wishes and solutions a bit deeper. 

*Adobe is a construction material which is a mixture of sand, water, clay and organic materials such as straw and manure. The mixture is pounded in a mould and sun- dried. 


Fortunately, since it became clear that the women have plans! Not only do they need a community building for meetings about health and hygiene, childcare, civil rights and – duties and for weighing the children and preparing school meals. (Many children come from far away - a 1 ½ hour walk to school is no exception - and school meals are an important incentive.) The women also want to build a better future for their families and not be utterly dependent on mining. They would love to start a sewing – or knitting studio to make their own clothes and perhaps a small business in order to provide in their own incomes.

Contributions from Bolivia and the Netherlands

Our coordinator Enrique and engineer Franklin developed a project plan involving the villagers so that in April 2015 the plan was accepted enthusiastically. It includes a sustainable multifunctional building (50 m2, with a simple kitchen, a separate toilet building (with septic tank) with 4 toilets and 2 hand basins. The local school may use the facilities as well. The inhabitants commit themselves to the project by contributing in labour, and the local government takes care of transport and supervision. Total costs of the project: € 24.000.

  (open air meetings)

Fundraising started in the Netherlands and in November 2015 we organized a benefit party with the fantastic theatre production ‘Cerro Rico’ and an auction. We received a premium from Stichting Wilde Ganzen/ IKON (1/3 of project costs) and contributions from Innerwheel Ambt Almelo, Spark Holding, Winabago and sponsors. 


Community centre according to plan

On December 5th 2016 construction started and was delivered well within time and budget on the 28th of March 2017, notwithstanding delays by roadblocks and other inconveniences. It is the very first development project in Laja Tambo and it means the world to the inhabitants that somewhere in the Netherlands there are people who think of them and help them to move forward! We want to express our thanks, also on behalf of the villagers of Laja Tambo, to all those (and there were many!) who contributed and worked for this wonderful project. 




Further flash back: 5th December 2016: Ready to start up at Laja Tambo!

Hurray, there is electricity in Laja Tambo! And thanks to the contributions of Innerwheel Ambt Almelo, Spark Holding, the profit of the Benefit Party in 2015, and a contribution by “Wilde Ganzen”, the funding goal has been met and we can start building the community centre with a school kitchen and sanitary facilities. The friendly new mayor, Jaime Fabián of Caiza “D”(to which Laja Tambo belongs), is extremely happy with our project: Laja Tambo is now really taking off!

In addition, this is our first project where the participants are not only the local population, but the city (transportation of building materials and supervision) as well. Another wonderful step forwards!

On December 5th 2016, the residents, mayor, councillors, technicians and other parties involved, came together to festively start up the project. The contours have been defined and with the traditional Ch’alla (they pour a bit of alcohol on the land), Pachamama (Mother Earth) was asked for permission for, and assistance with the construction.

  5th December 22th December

2013: Aid requested by enterprising women for building a community centre in the hamlet Laja Tambo near Potosí.

Laja Tambo consists of a few adobe* homes, a small school and a basketball court. In 2012 a small group of diligent mothers built a community centre with their own hands and limited resources. The simple construction with windows without panes and a plane zinc roof, can’t keep out the cold Altiplano wind and rain. There is no floor yet, but there is no money for construction materials.


*Adobe is a building material consisting of sand, water, clay and organic materials such as straw or manure. The mixture is pounded in a mood and dried outside in the sun.

April 2013: The young woman would very much like a centre facility where they can come together for counselling (on health and hygiene, childcare, civil rights and duties) and to weigh the children, exchange experience, support each other and perhaps: start a knitting workshop… The hamlet doesn’t have electricity (yet) and is not connected to a sewer system. There is a water supply with 2 public faucets. The aid from Amigos de Potosí was called upon to finish the building. However, we assess rather quickly that this building is no foundation to build upon and decide to investigate the problems, wishes and possibilities.

It turns out the women want to organise themselves better, work together on a better future for their families and break away from the mining industry. Moreover, sanitary facilities are absent and the school breakfast for the children is prepared in a small corner of the school. Many children come from a large distance (up to 1½ hour walk) and breakfast is an important extra incentive!

After that, our coordinator Enrique worked out a project plan that was translated into a design by the engineer Franklin. In April 2015 the plan was presented to the community and received with enthusiasm. It will be a durable and multifunctional building (50m²) with a simple kitchen, an outhouse (with septic tank) with 4 toilets and 2 washbasins, that the school can use as well. Agreements were made with the population and the local authority on how everyone will cooperate in the realisation and maintenance. Construction start: mid 2016 (as soon as the rainy season is over and the finances are finalised). Construction duration: 5 months.

This project is supported by the Foundation “Wild Geese” with a contribution equal to 50% of the amount collected by us and received by us as donations for this project! Contributions for this campaign need to be with us before the 1st of July 2016!

Foundation “Wild Geese” fights poverty worldwide and supports small-scale projects developed by locals together with passionate Dutch. Wild Geese aids with knowledge, experience and financial support. This way together we really make a difference in people’s lives.

With visible and permanent results. https://wildgeesefoundation.org/

Presentation of the plan: 2015:

The plan: community centre with school kitchen & sanitary facilities