PE&C: ten years, eleven countries
PE&C (People, Education and Communities. Committed to Development) is an education-based social development program and one of the cornerstones of Abengoa’s social engagement, which is developed by the Focus-Abengoa Foundation.
The program originated in Argentina in 2005 and, since then, it has crossed borders arriving to Peru, Brazil, India, Mexico and Chile. In these countries, Abengoa provides assistance to children, women, the elderly, the disabled, and families living in situations of poverty and social isolation.
Thus, the social development program of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation operates in ten countries on four continents, contributing to social development of people in situations of vulnerability in those countries where Abengoa operates. In fact, in 2015, when the program extended to Uruguay, more than 10.00 people are benefited directly from the activities carried out by the program every year.
” The program originated in Argentina with the construction of a sports facility in Monte Quemado.
We need to go back to 2005 to find the origins of the program, when the the Sisters of the Cross of Monte Quemado, a town of 13,000 inhabitants located in the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, sought collaboration from Abengoa so that disabled people in the area could have a chance to engage in sports. The result was the construction of a sports facility, where hundreds of children, teenagers and adults with different capacities since then play sports such as basketball to develop their psychomotor capacities.
Nowadays, Quimilí, Alderetes, Tintina and San Miguel de Tucumán are the places where the program carries out activities together with the Sisters of the Cross in Argentina, besides Monte Quemado.
Jessica Abellaneda, a social worker in Tucumán that has been with PE&C for 8 years: “PE&C has given me everything. I started my career with the program. I began as a volunteer and this is now my profession”, she tells us with a grin from ear to ear. “We make things change for others, and others in turn bring about change in us”.
PE&C adapts its formulas to local needs. In Monte Quemado, for example, the program implemented a children’s “shelter house” thanks to the intervention mechanism in conjunction with Argentina’s social institutions. A youth shelter was also built in the same place; here a project is being executed for girls to complete their high school studies and go on to the university.
Community lunchrooms, such as the one in San Cayetano, where local children have been provided with meals for over 15 years. This is where people like Daniel teach children how to grow fruit and vegetables that can later be used in the community lunchrooms in Monte Quemado, while serving at the same time as an example for families to plant their own gardens at home as a means of sustainable sustenance.
In addition to the sports facility, the program built a swimming pool in Quimilí for disabled people to work on their psychomotor skills with the assistance and love of their jobs of various PE&C practitioners.
” Children enjoy the best part of their day here; they come in with a smile and they leave with a smile.
Ymelda, a nurse, has been working with the Sisters and PE&C in Quimilí for years: “The PE&C organization is fabulous. There’s a great deal of human commitment involved in the work and that’s the most precious part. Children enjoy the best part of their day here; they come in with a smile and they leave with a smile. They know they have someone to turn to. They have a sense of belonging to this place”.
Sewing, handiwork, computer skills and secretarial workshops, daily academic support classes or inclusive cooking workshops are attended by hundreds of people each day. There is also a day care center for young mothers who need to leave their children under the care of teachers while they study at the training center.
There are hundreds of people with real stories that have found in PE&C the support they needed to develop and thrive. In many cases, people that were beneficiaries have become benefactors, now working for the program, a living testament of the possibility of change.