Barrick is partnering with A Roof for My Country (Un Techo Para Mi Pais) to provide housing for families living in dire poverty in the Huaraz province of Peru.
A Roof for My Country is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) whose volunteers build transitional homes side by side with the families who will live in them. “For us, poverty is an emergency,” says Jackie Fernandez, General Manager of A Roof for My Country in Peru.
In all, 335 homes will be built in 11 different communities around Barrick’s Pierina mine during the three-year program — 135 of which will be directly funded by the company. Barrick employees are also participating in the construction of the homes. To date, more than 80 Barrick employees have volunteered to help build 15 homes.
In addition to the project in Peru, Barrick is working with A Roof for My Country and other NGOs on programs to alleviate poverty in Chile’s Atacama Region.
“There were several reasons we chose to partner with A Roof for My Country,” says Alfredo Anderson, Barrick’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager in Peru, “one of the most important being its ability to attract student volunteers, educate them about poverty and inspire them to take direct action to help improve the lives of needy families.”
Huaraz province, home to Barrick’s Pierina mine, is located in Peru’s Ancash region. Average monthly income in Ancash is less than $100 and the infant mortality rate is the highest of any region in the country, Fernandez says.
In addition to the temporary dwellings, which are designed to last for five-to-seven years, A Roof for My Country provides training in a variety of areas, including health care, financial management, business and vocational skills. The ultimate goal is to help put families in a position to obtain permanent housing, Fernandez says. “The families are very receptive to the program and surprised because they are not used to being helped by anyone,” she says.
The partnership between A Roof for My Country and Barrick is going very well, Fernandez adds, noting that student volunteers are impressed that Barrick employees are participating directly in the construction of the homes. “The fact that Barrick employees are out in the communities working with the families and volunteers has helped forge a strong relationship and built trust,” she says.