Volunteers who indicate their desire to work in construction enjoy a wide variety of projects to choose from every week. This is the most flexible branch of PSF operations, as volunteers may choose to work on different projects every week or, alternatively, work on various stages of one project through to completion (assuming they are able to stay throughout the duration of the project).
Although certain projects often present unique needs and challenges, there are several core areas (and corresponding activities) you will likely find yourself contributing to at some point during your service as a PSF Construction Volunteer: Site Preparation (demolition, digging foundations, clearing rubble, etc.), Building (Mixing and pouring concrete, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, etc.), or Community Beautification (planting trees, landscaping, community cleanups, painting murals, etc.). Whatever your interest, rest assured you’ll get your hands dirty from the start!
PSF Construction Volunteers work in two primary areas of focus: Independent Assistance and Community Improvement & Support.
Independent Assistance projects provide improved housing and sanitation to those families most affected by the earthquake in August 2007. In the infancy of Pisco Sin Fronteras, volunteers started off by providing the manual labor needed to prepare and construct facilities for low-income families who were provided basic building materials by the local government, NGOs and international disaster relief agencies. Today, we continue to provide this support and are also able to provide modular homes made from wood-panels that volunteers craft from used crates donated by a local steel-manufacturing company. The people we aid with modular homes tend to have suffered from extraordinary circumstances that have inhibited them from working and/or saving up to rebuild since the earthquake.
Community Construction projects are designed to benefit a conglomeration of families and even entire communities. As of 2012, PSF has started to refocus its efforts in this area as a means of promoting sustainability through community involvement and increased community ownership. We constantly undertake distinct Community Construction projects in accordance with the needs of the most underprivileged neighborhoods in Pisco, which allows volunteers to gain a wide range of technical skills and experiences. Some examples of past projects have included community centers, classrooms, sports courts, health clinics, child-care centers, ecological parks and recreational areas for youth.
Center Photo: Environmental Conservation and Awareness Center built alongside an ecological park in Pisco Playa at the entrance to the formerly unmaintained wetlands & wildlife sanctuary. PSF also built a walking path to promote environmental awareness and generate greater opportunities for nature tourism.
Water and Sanitation
Many communities live without access to adequate water supplies and sanitation facilities. PSF has pursued various initiatives to provide low-income families with the facilities needed to meet these basic needs in order to improve their health, hygiene and overall quality of life.
The construction of permanent concrete floors drastically improves day to day living conditions and limits health complications that frequently arise when families are exposed to the hazards of dirt floors. These floors also provide a sound structural foundation upon which they may erect a quality home. Volunteers may partake in all facets of building a concrete floor – from site preparation to mixing cement with aggregate to pouring, leveling and smoothing the final surface.
Bricklaying is an excellent new skill that many of our volunteers are able to learn during their service. Most projects requiring bricklaying are facilitated by local masons who guide volunteers in the techniques and procedures that must be followed to construct sturdy walls that support a strong, earthquake-resistant building.
Many people around Pisco still live tents and makeshift shacks. As a temporary, yet more stable solution to the housing problem, many international organizations donated wood, metal and drywall after the earthquake. PSF helps in the construction and movement of these homes, as well as spearheading our own modular home project using recycled wood donated from Aceros Arequipa, a Peruvian steel manufacturer.
The damage resulting from the earthquake in 2007 left an abundance of demolition work to be done in order to make way for new homes and facilities; structurally damaged and insecure walls must be knocked down, old concrete floors broken up and rubble hauled away.
With the donations of wood-crates PSF receives from Aceros Arequipa, we are able to build modular home panels as well as desks, chairs, shelves and other innovative creations for schools, community centers, and parks in Pisco.