I am approaching my last weeks of an amazing four-month stay in Argentina. Having joined HPHA’s international Volunteer Program from back home in Switzerland, I had very little idea of what to expect, all I knew is that I would be helping with the writing of financing proposals. My experience has turned out to be so much more than the program description could ever have suggested! Not only have I been able to spend time in the office learning from motivated and intelligent people who are dedicated to a cause, but I have also had the chance to go out on the field helping with the construction and getting to know the families. Going into the neighbourhoods was an eye opening experience, I now understand a lot more about the complexity of the housing and poverty issues arising in Argentina.
In addition to taking a lot from my time at HPHA I was also able to create a connection between HPHA and an association of which I am a member in Geneva. During my time at University I joined a group of students to form the first Latin American Association of the University of Geneva: ALMA. To start off with we were a group of around 10 students, either south Americans or with some link or interest in the continent. Our first meetings were informal: a group of friends sharing ideas and experiences whilst listening to Latin music. The first event we organized was a small barbecue with the aim of presenting ourselves to the student body, playing a few typically south American games and raising some money. The number of students wanting to join the association grew dramatically over the next few months and continues to grow as the association gets in touch with more associations such as Amnesty international, and organizes more and more social and cultural events.
After a few weeks working in HPHA I spoke to ALMA about HPHA’s projects and the immediate response was that they wanted to help out. From the 7th to the 10th of November an event organized by ALMA ‘Operación Seducción” took place. Over the course of these three days students were able to assist presentations, watch shows, dances and taste typical foods. The three-day event was a huge success and ALMA was able to raise funds of which an amount of 1000CHf went to HPHA! This money will contribute to the building of a Seed House and in turn to dramatically changing the life of a family in the neighbourhood of La Matanza, Buenos Aires!!