We have some exciting news – the Wawa Wasi has grown so much that it has officially become our MED Center for Primary Education! Though this is only the first branch of what will eventually be a much larger scale project, this is a key step in progressing toward our ultimate goal of the MED Center and we are thrilled to tell you about it.
The Roots of the Project: The Wawa Wasi
MEDLIFE worked with our longtime partner community of Union Santa Fe on the outskirts of Lima, Peru to build a physical structure to meet their self-identified needs: the Wawa Wasi. An effort in sustainable development, the idea for the building came from concerns expressed by community members that there was no safe place to leave their children while they went to work.
Rather than building a parallel educational system, we worked hand in hand with government programs already in place. In Lima, the government has a designated education program called CUNAMAS for children from 1 to 2 years. This program provides food, childcare, and education to children in low-income communities. Unfortunately, to qualify for the program the community must have a physical structure in place that offers a suitable and safe environment for the children. That is where MEDLIFE came in.
We constructed a building that could serve as a childcare center on the first floor. For a period of time, we operated hand in hand with CUNAMAS to offer childcare to families in the area. But as the community has grown and changed, their needs have also grown and changed. And to properly meet those needs, the Wawa Wasi has transitioned into to what is now the MED Center for Primary Education.
Becoming the MED Center for Primary Education
The building has grown from a 1-floor day care center to a 3-floor multi-purpose center with workshops, professional services, and more. Through this growing process, it has become the first physical step in the development of our MED Center in the area. The full-scale MED Center will be a community center focused on particular development issues that the communities face. For example, some of our goals for the MED Center include offering a trade school for children and adults, basic medical and dental services, and providing a safe space for community meetings.
Between its physical growth and expansion of educational offerings, the former Wawa Wasi building and its services have truly embodied our first major step towards the MED Center, via the MED Center for Primary Education. So we thought it was time to officially change the name.
Currently, the MED Center for Primary Education is operating in a variety of ways, all rooted from listening to communities share with us about their needs and priorities. Though CUNAMAS is not currently running a childcare center, we are using the first floor to offer law consultations and psychology appointments from local professionals. We are hopeful that the partnership with CUNAMAS will resume in the coming months. On the second floor, we are offering unique and immersive workshops for children in the area. After school or during summer months, they can come to the MED Center for Primary Education to learn new skills and hobbies like karate, painting, and dance. Additionally, on weekends we have partnered with a local university so that students can volunteer their time to teach supplemental workshops.
Finally, we are in the process of constructing a third floor for the MED Center for Primary Education and plan to work hand in hand with the community to decide what to offer in the space. It may be a computer area for teenagers to do their school work, a small business workshop for locals, or potentially an area for fun activities like movie nights!
Thanks for all of your support as we continue progressing this project. More updates to come soon!