It is our core project, our first goal we started with in 2015: a residence where 20 girls can feel safe and attend the school ‘Colegio Diocesano San José’. After our supporters secured the funding with their donations, the construction was initiated in 2016. Unfortunately, after this quick start structural defects were led to a halt in progress. Experts assessed the degree of shortcomings and agreed that the building, in the current state, could not be used as a residence due to instability. Yet they could not clearly state whether the defects could be fixed at a reasonable cost. This uncertainty prevails to date. Construction work has not been resumed.
But CASA HOGAR has used the time between productively: together with the bishopric Istmina-Tadó we could provide a smaller house for 5 girls for the time being. The girls call the residence, which has been in use since early 2018, ‘Casa Hogar Niña María‘. Under the care of the Sisters Belkis and Elena the girls feel comfortable and enjoy studying at the Colegio Diocesano.
At the same time, we decided to continue the construction of the larger residence. For the time being, the static problems remain unresolved while a new section will be added to the building. We have received blueprints and cost estimates which we are currently evaluating. We are confident to be able to initiate the construction of a solid large residence in 2019.
In the meanwhile, we continue to assess whether the rest of the building can still be used. Worst case scenario, we might not be able to prevent a demolition. Best case scenario, we can find a cost-efficient way to strengthen the foundation of the building so to be able to use it as initially planned.
Beyond that, fencing is being added to the perimeters. If you have been following CASA HOGAR for some time now you may have noticed that manipulations by the ‘invasores’ have restricted the efforts of our construction. The ‘invasores’ are a criminal organization in Chocó that unlawfully and forcefully take hold of real estate. Members invade property, use forged document to prove ownership and corroborate their claims by force of arms.
In Germany you would simply inform the police, visit the land registry and quickly resolve the issue. However, the lack of this process in Istmina reinforces activities of the ‚invasores’. A land registry with incorruptible thoroughness as we know it in Germany does not exist in Istmina. And legal proceedings are tedious and expensive, and due to corruption even a convincing case does not safely lead to a good outcome. Therefore, many victims avoid the legal process and give way to the ‘invasores’ without a fight.
Fencing the premises – generating clear legal and physical conditions – will minimize the risk of suffering attacks from the ‘invasores’. With the small Casa Hogar Niña María‘ being close by, ‘our’ five girls can already use the secure area for carefree playing and frolicking.