Out with the old, in with the new

Post a Comment » Written on April 19th, 2012     
Filed under: Community Development
The Master’s Workshop in the Paradise Neighborhood of Soledad, Colombia, is a project that really understands the phrase transformational community development. Specifically, the project produces decorative artwork, provides vocational training, offers employment, and contributes positively to the dire economic situation in the Paradise neighborhood. Even more, though, the project involves working together with communities and families as they help themselves through micro-enterprise, micro-finance, sustainable water development, community health initiatives, agriculture, and sustainable food programs. The Master’s Workshop truly grasps this concept – working with the local church, they not only hire impoverished youth and adults from the neighborhood, but they donate 100% of their profits to reach the poor, the powerless, and the marginalized in the Paradise community.

The workshop has been in the process of updating and remodeling their facility, and the following report describes the progress:

The construction on the new addition and expansion of the workshop is nearly 100% complete.  The new addition has been completed and is beginning to be used for casting and polishing the statues.  Since the new addition was designed for better ventilation the chemical smell is much lower than before.  City health officials visited earlier and congratulated Pastor Jesús on the improvement.  The existing structure has also received a facelift, tearing down old walls to make larger spaces for hand painting and product storage, as well as a fresh coat of paint.  Overall the changes have improved the working environment, made possible more efficient production, and created opportunities to buy raw materials in bulk (at a discount) to improve profit margins.

Pastor Jesús reports that he is very happy and very content with what they’ve been able to accomplish through the generous grant of CWR.  He said that in his estimation the construction was 95% complete.  What remains to be completed is purchasing 4 additional fans, 2 work tables, and a much needed remodel for the bathroom (see photos).

As for sales, they continue to be strong with $2,000.00 collected and another $1,000.00 in credit on the books for December.  There are several new faces working there.  Employment has held steady and increased to around 15 people.

February begins the “slow season” for the industry, which usually lasts 3 or 4 months.  Income and employment will decrease, but so will costs, and the Master’s Workshop should be well positioned to make a big impact in 2012.  One goal for Pastor Jesús is to computerize the bookkeeping.  This should help create financial reports that can help change the accounting focus from after-the-fact accountability to forward looking planning.

We are very excited by the progress and development work of the Master’s Workshop and the steps they take in true community development. Click here and here for more information and photos of this project. Consider supporting this project by clicking here.

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