“You are the missing piece”, says the slogan of Módulo Sanitario, a non-profit organization addressing the emergency health of more than six million people who don’t have a bathroom in Argentina.
It was Tato‘s initiative. He’s been a member of the organization for two years and he thought it would be a good way for intive-FDV to collaborate for social impact. After Proyecto Nahual, Dane, Devs4Good and our series of feminist talks, most of you might have guessed that we committed right away. And we did. We became volunteers and started building bathrooms and kitchens in rudimentary housing in the suburbs of Buenos Aires.
How it works
Módulo Sanitario was launched in 2015, with the help of Fundación Horizonte de Máxima, which assists young professionals with the development of community projects. The people who put the idea forward had found out that TECHO‘s constructions had no bathroom and kitchen modules, so they decided to do their bit. Today, five or six volunteers, one or two construction leaders and one supervisor work in each house. The leaders have previous training and there is a construction manual.
Over the course of two days, the volunteers and the families get to know each other. As they already know how TECHO works, the beneficiaries of Módulo are familiar with the system. “That first barrier had been broken”, says Tato. When the construction is finished, we try to do a social monitoring.
At first we didn’t know if we were going to need technical know-how or previous experience. Euge had volunteered in TECHO and was one of the first to join Módulo. “The basics are the same: how to make ditches, drains. The first time I went on my own and the second with a group”, she says.
In the last edition (June 9 and 10th), Isa, Gi, Maru, Euge and Tato actually became friends. They worked as a team with the shared thought that “today these people can make their life better”, as Gi told us. There were some emotional moments but they were supporting each other all the time.
“It’s like a retreat where you find connection, energy”. Isa
“They tell you life experiences you are not used to hearing”. Tato
“You connect with the little ones, you experience it in your own flesh”. Maru
The next editions will be on September 29 and November 24. In these non-conventional meetings, not only a basic need is solved, we also offer hygiene workshops and we all share intimate and unforgettable moments. “You learn things you didn’t know you needed to learn”, says Tato. It’s a really fulfilling experience.
TECHO houses and sanitary modules have a design life of five-eight years, depending on the ground conditions, climate, maintenance and other variables. But the smile on people’s faces lasts much longer. “It proves them they can have a better life”, says Euge. It opens up possibilities and gives them more confidence in themselves. As Tato expressed: “What moves us is to be able to change someone’s life”.