The Carranza family’s flimsy metal shack rests perilously on a hillside in the rural El Salvadoran community of Nuevo Cuscátlan, leaving the family of four in constant fear that a landslide will inevitably come and wipe out what precious little they own.
But on this day mother Maritza is more concerned with treating the new skin rash on 2-year-old Yanci. With all the mosquitoes, flies, worms and trash around in this crowded rural shack slum, tending to Yanci’s illnesses is nothing out of the ordinary.
At the top of hill, Lucia Guzmán Alfaro carefully begins a trek down a slippery, uneven path to retrieve water for the large family who reside in a shack made from sheets of tin and plastic that is often ravaged by rain and wind. With nine family members sharing the tiny home — including her husband, four children, her three sisters and a grandmother — getting water is a constant chore.
There are dozens of families in such situations throughout the slum that arose in this farming area that most adults work. It’s dirty, dangerous and no place a child should have to call home. To make matters worse, the families are facing eviction from a landowner who wants them gone.
The Fuller Center for Housing has teamed up with a new partner, however, to make sure that not only will these families not become homeless, but they will be moving out of shacks and instead into simple, decent homes. The Fuller Center has partnered with New Story Charity, a nonprofit that raises money to move families out of poverty housing conditions. They raise the money, but they rely on local partners to do the construction. The Fuller Center’s local partner in Nuevo Cuscátlan, People Helping People, will build the homes.
The new two-bedroom homes will be 425 square feet each and … have dry roofs, safe concrete block walls and floors, flush toilets with septic tanks and will be made ready for running water and electricity.
“We’re thrilled to be working with New Story Charity on this project,” said Ryan Iafigliola, The Fuller Center’s Director of International Field Operations, who visited Nuevo Cuscátlan with representatives of New Story in November. “The Fuller Center is a people-rich organization, but we’re certainly not financially rich.
“New Story Charity has found some tremendous success in raising funds, but they don’t build houses themselves. The result is a perfect partnership, where we can work together to connect families, donors and expertise to change lives.”
New Story contributors already have raised funds for more than 25 of the 90 homes in this project that will include a 79-home community called Monseñor Romero — the same name of the slum village. The new two-bedroom homes will be 425 square feet each and built as row houses on a small plot of land donated by the city of Nuevo Cuscátlan. The houses will have dry roofs, safe concrete block walls and floors, flush toilets with septic tanks and will be made ready for running water and electricity.
“We are not called to build every house, but rather to create partnerships with others to get the job done,” Fuller Center President David Snell said. “Our partnership with New Story Charity is a perfect example of how partnerships can work with each party bringing their special skills and knowledge together to create something that is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Iafigliola said construction is under way on the new Monseñor Romero community, with the families expected to be in their safe, new homes before the end of summer.
“The story of the families in this community is just so compelling, and we love our partners in El Salvador, led by program leader Lisselot Franceschi,” he said. “The best part is the prospect of working with New Story in more communities in other countries in the days ahead.”