We turned up in Salta (Argentina) a city 7 hours from the southern border with Bolivia last week, ready to find some new organisations to support. It was a little more difficult than we´d been expecting however!

Maybe it was because we turned up on the Easter weekend, but we struggled even finding a place to stay (queue memories of walking the streets at 5am in the rain complete with a 15kg backpack on! Zzz!), let alone finding organisations to support. We’d read online about the need in Salta, with it being one of the poorer regions of Argentina and one of the areas with the highest concentration of NGOs in the country: 500 charities for a population of 600,000. We also had time on our side; 4 days in the same place; what a luxury! (Our average of late has been two days!) So we thought we would be tripping over charities in the street, but we were having zero luck actually getting to talk to anyone. After having no replies by email, we went for the direct approach and ended up spending a good 4 hours pounding the pavements and knocking on doors, only to find they´d either moved, no longer existed, or were inaugurating their shiny new offices tomorrow. Come back then.

Facebook, however, came to the rescue – people really do pay more attention when the eyes of social media are watching! The lovely Moira, who had moved from the capital to Salta to work with the local communities, put us in contact with a government-run organisation that builds the capacity of local community organisations and they turned up the next day, complete with three staff, a jeep to drive us round in and lots of questions (who are you, what are you doing and why do you care?!) to show us around a couple of NGOs they work with.

DSC_0091

We headed out of the city centre to a less wealthy, gang dominated area of the city to visit FUCAS, an organisation set up in 2002 to strengthen community development through various educational and social projects. The centre is run by a great team of passionate professionals. One of their main areas of focus is creating safe areas within the town by occupying the streets with family-friendly activities. My personal favourite project was to teach children about traditional games their grandparents´ generation used to play to not only create connections between young and old, but also to show both groups that it’s safe to play outside and for them to reclaim their streets.

There are also skills-based workshops for children ranging from photography to capoeira to cooking; a public allotment looked after by local residents in what used to be one of the most dangerous parts of the city, and safe spaces for children to learn and play.

FUCAS is bringing hope to a underserved area of Salta, and they’re even currently lending their premises to a local school whilst theirs is being temporarily renovated: amazing work!

fucas-salta
We will be donating £75 to this charity and invite you to follow their progress here:

Web: http://www.fucasalta.org.ar/
F : https://www.facebook.com/Fundacionfucas

Have you got a holiday lined up and fancy getting to knowlocal charity? Get in touch and we´ll find a project that needs you!