Santa Helena de Upia is a village located in the municipality of Villanueva in Casanare. Even though the presence of 58 families makes this zone of eastern Llanos look almost urban, Santa Helena did not have a space where young children who are not attending school yet could gather and play.
After identifying this specific need, villagers, the Communal Action Board, and PAREX joined forces in 2015 to plan and build a community centre. Villagers volunteered their time and labour and we contributed materials and other resources to build this community project.
By working together, we made the centre a reality in August 2016. Since then, every afternoon, a group of mothers comes with their children to pass the time together and participate in different activities.
This community centre has all the necessary resources for recreational and welfare-related activities for early childhood. Besides being a practical building, this centre is a meeting point where moms and their young children can learn, play, and explore the surroundings the little ones are beginning to discover.
Claudia, Inés, and Maria del Pilar are among the mothers from this region who have benefited over the past few months from this community centre. This place offers them an opportunity to receive support raising their children. They share information about the proper infant care and nutrition in early childhood.
PAREX contributed over COP 70 million (USD $22,943) in the construction of this community centre in Santa Helena de Upia. In 2016, PAREX’ contributions toward community strengthening, as well as to culture, recreation, and sports benefited over 9,000 individuals for a total of COP 1,200 million (USD $393,316).
For Adelaida Medina, a community leader in Santa Helena de Upia, “Having this community centre primarily for children is such a great help. The youngest kids, who do not yet go to school, can go there with their mothers and share experiences”.
PAREX participated as a funding partner during the first phase of construction of the centre. Later on, PAREX provided support for the improvements required for childcare and donated supplies such as chairs, tables, boards, fans, technological devices and teaching materials.
PAREX recognizes the benefits of social investments that serve the entire community. For this reason, a community strengthening program is fundamental to the Company’s strategic plan. With this type of investment, communities may leverage multiple capabilities that may promote social development and improve the quality of life.