US$500 to Damas de Guayabillas (Guayabillas Ladies' Committee) which exists to promote, support, and sustain the integrated development of rural Ecuadorian women so that they will be better able to improve the quality of their own lives and that of their community.

WHO WE ARE: The group includes single and married women from the village and farms within an hour's walk away. Soon after we began meeting formally in 1998, the Community Council donated us a plot of land in the village. We meet regularly for work parties, crafts, and other programs or events. We have participated in local programs, cultivated our land, sponsored a successful three-week sewing course, hosted fundraisers, and developed a couple of products for sale.

*To develop our plot of land to serve as a meeting place, safe storage and workshop space, as well as a model sustainable plantation.
*To address important themes such as health care, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and ecology; to learn and share with others all types of practical and recreational arts, crafts, skills, and appropriate technologies which can improve the quality of our lives and expand our horizons.
*To seek the means to better our economic situation through crafts, cottage industries, plant/tree nurseries and educational programs.
*To participate in ongoing community planning around issues such as bringing potable water, health care and sanitary infrastructures to Guayabillas.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: We are now engaged in realizing our most ambitious dream - the construction of a Women's Centre on our plot of land. We need a safe and secure space of our own in which to address more personal issues, to host capacitation courses, store equipment, and develop viable cottage industries to better our economic situation. We welcome financial and any other assistance from persons and/or organizations anywhere in the world. GRACIAS!

COMITE DE DAMAS - CASA SEDE (WOMEN'S CENTRE) Our most urgent need is to build our Centre so as to have a base of operations in which to meet, run courses and develop cottage industries. We envision a two-storey, 9x6 metre structure built of cement block and/or other local materials. The lower level will house kitchen facilities, secure storage, and a large meeting and workshop space. If we are unable to secure adequate funding to build the entire structure immediately, the downstairs will be self-sufficient until we have gathered funds to build the second storey, which will provide porch, office, storage and living spaces for visitors. The toilet will be a separate structure.

(Imagine the downstairs floor plan here, with dimensions and legend. :)

FINANCING A local contractor (2001) estimated building costs for the full two-storey house at USD $6,000 ($2,000 for materials and $4,000 for his labour), a discouragingly huge sum of money for poor rural women to put together. Undaunted, we have prepared the construction site with our shovels, machetes and hoes, and raised about a fifth of the necessary funds in bits and pieces: sponsoring a local dance, selling chicken dinners, making potholders and palmwood rhythm sticks for sale, developing a commmunity tourism plan with an eye to its future potential, and cash donations from friends abroad. We have hired a contractor to supervise construction and with his guidance are doing the work ourselves, taking it by turns, a day at a time. As things stand at the end of December, 2002, we have woven the rebar structure for supporting pillars, poured the foundations, and raised the outside walls to window level. We still have blocks enough to complete the downstairs, but our funds are nearly exhausted. We need another USD $3,000-$5,000 to finish. Can you think of a way to help us?


Please join us in building a better future for the women and community of Guayabillas. We continue to produce potholders (@USD$5/pr plus postage) and rhythm sticks (claves@ USD$7/pr plus postage) for sale. Any assistance is of value: in cash or kind, help finding a grant or other sponsorship, technical expertise, advice, encouragement, or simply another heart and pair of hands.

*Address inquiries to our Coordinadora: Mimi
(Meredith) Foyle, Casilla 17-07-8712, Quito, ECUADOR or email Mimi:

*Cheques should be in U.S. dollars, made out to: Meredith Foyle at above address. You can enclose a piece of carbon paper the same size as the envelope to disguise its contents, taking care it is so placed that the carbon doesn't rub off on the check!

*Inquire at one of the above addresses if you wish additional information or to contribute in some other way.