Palmitas” Offices (Kennedy locality, Bogota)

These headquarters are in the Palmitas neighborhood of the Patio Bonito sector (UPZ 82) of the locality of Kennedy, in Bogotá (Address: Carrera 99 D BIS no 38C-23 Sur). This area has traditionally been recognized as one of the most violent in Bogotá. It has a high unemployment rate and, in the absence of a strong state, the authority there is largely exercised by gangs.

In Palmitas there is an important group of families that live on recycling. Mothers have to leave on long days touring the city to earn their daily livelihood, leaving their children alone, either locked in or in the street, without anyone taking care of them and waiting for them when they return from school. This results in high rates of school dropout and teenage pregnancies, which causes the chain of poverty and frustration to be passed down from generation to generation.

The Foundation has its own headquarters in a three-story building. On the ground floor, you find the kitchen, the storage room, food processing space and the dining room. On the first floor, there are three rooms for academic work, a computer room connected to the Internet, and a room for storing teaching materials. On the second floor, there is a common room that is also used for meetings and art activities. 

 

Purchase and adaptation of the Foundation's own headquarters in Palmitas (Patio Bonito)


With the help of two Rotary clubs (Bogota Centenario and Seattle) and with donations from friends, we began in January 2019 the renovation of the electrical infrastructure of the house, a complete transformation of the power supply connections into networks and adjusted, expanded and improved electrical installations, according to electrical safety required standards. The toilets for the students were also adapted.

The computer network infrastructure was set up, with three wireless MR33 access points (one per floor) and an MX68 router, under a 5-year contract. In addition to this electrical and network set up, we have got computers and specially designed furniture for the computers, their accessories, and the books, according to the ages of the children and young people.

 

 Between December 2019 and January 2020, we made big adaptations to the head office, thanks to the support of donors such as CORONA, who donated the ceramic tiles for the floors; Christliche Schule, a children's school in Germany, who made an important donation, and the donations of friends and family. We did the adaptation work from the second week of December until January 18, a period during which some of the children and guardians were in camp and others on vacation. In this way, we did not have to close the Foundation during working days, and we were able to resume on January 20 our work, supporting and assisting the children, young people, and tutors.
For the realization of the works, we hired a builder (Constructions and Proyecto’s Strategics) who committed to carrying out the work in record time and to high-quality standards. Each of their crews was a specialist in electricity, gas, hydraulics, tiling, management, etc. and they looked after all the details to ensure the success of the project.
Laying ceramic tiles over the concrete floors was a big change that gave light to the rooms and created a nice feeling of cleanliness.

Transformation began in the kitchen, that we considered the heart of the Foundation because food, as we all know, is the first thing children expect and need to receive. We achieved a complete change of the kitchen, going from an area of 6m2 to an area of 18m2, as well as from a small worktop (1.0 x 0.60 cm) to 4 worktops the same size as the original one. In addition, it was equipped with a double sink, a stove with four gas burners, and a refrigerator. The next investment, when possible, will be to buy storage for dishes and glasses, a cooker hood, and a large fan. The comfort and lighting of the workspaces make this a very suitable place for several moms to work there simultaneously.


 

We laid the Corona ceramic tiles on the floors of the dining room, the kitchen, the food storage room, the office, the bathroom, the two stairs, the four classrooms, the four small storage rooms, the hall and the common room on the second floor, which gave it a very special touch of comfort and beauty. The walls of the kitchen, the food storage room and the bathroom on the ground floor were also tiled.

The common room had a big impact because, in addition to the floor tiling, the walls were primed and painted, a special adaptation was made to hide the water tanks, and a drywall ceiling was installed. All these adaptations, besides regulating the amount of light and especially the heat, transformed this room in a comfortable and pleasant space where children love to stay all day. When it was first opened, one of the girls said: "This little house looks like a dreamy one."

How wonderful that we can offer improvements in all facilities. It is good that children find a pleasant, clean space, full of light and much more comfortable. Now they feel much better in this house that is a shelter, a second home where children feel safe, loved, and respected and where they receive what they need most: love.