Villa Infantil Needs Help!
By Sherry Hudson
A new crisis has recently developed which is threatening to close the Villa Infantil Orphanage south east of Jocotepec. The Jalisco Health Department has determined that the Villa needs to correct a list of deficiencies they identified in an inspection in early July or will be forced to close with about 24 children left with nowhere to go.
The reason for the inspection remains unknown as this is the first time in the Villa’s nine years in operation at this location that the facilities and administration have been scrutinized, and it appears that none of the other children’s shelters are being checked into. Madre Maria runs a tight ship with immaculately kept casitas and happy, healthy, well socialized kids. However, the demands must be met or all could be on the streets soon.
While some of the items are administrative in nature such as record keeping and staff job descriptions which Madre has dealt with, there are numerous others which require a great deal more in terms of work and money to implement. These include new emergency exit doors with push bars to replace the sliding doors, panic alarm sensors, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and emergency lighting for each casita, replacing steps with ramps at exit points, new water filtration system, thermometers and temperature regulators for fridges and freezers, copper piping from gas tanks to buildings, and separate reception areas and waiting rooms for private consultations, which will require major construction. These modifications alone will cost 49,500 pesos to begin work immediately.
As well, the state is requiring the services of several healthcare professionals including a nurse, doctor, nutritionist, psychologist and social worker, as much as 4 hours each weekday. These are ongoing and will necessitate a considerable sum to fund the costs, and although Madre has been appealing to local professionals to donate their services, there will surely be several thousand pesos monthly needed to meet these expenses.
The nuns have been scrambling to work through the list of 30 requirements but with the deadline for all to be completed by November 28, 2011, time is short and money even shorter. Donations are urgently needed to begin work immediately in order to have them completed on schedule. Though the state Family Development services, DIF, routinely brings children to this and other shelters, there is no government funding provided and it is strictly by public donations and child sponsorship through the Friends of Villa Infantil, (FOVI) that day to day costs are met which keep the children fed, clothed and educated. For the moment, it is critical that all available funds go to keeping the orphanage open.
To this end, FOVI is hosting a fundraiser at the Racquet Club east of San Juan Cosalá this November 11th from 2-6pm. Roberto’s Restaurant will be catering a gourmet 6 course European dinner featuring Coq Au Vin, and dessert by Dixie. There will be a showing of new fall fashions by Cugini’s Opus Boutique, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction and cash bar. Tickets are 250 pesos; call Lisa at 387-761-0002 or Sandra & Gordon at 387-761-0829.
Donate by logging onto www.friendsofvillainfantil.org which now accepts Pay Pal. By partnering with the Lake Chapala Charities organization, your donations are now U.S. tax deductible. What a great idea for Christmas gifting that keeps on giving!
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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