Breaking Ground in Talara!

Breaking Ground in Talara!

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jul 10, 2013
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Students, their families and friends gathered excitedly last week at the site of the Santa Elena de Piedritas School in Talara, Peru, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new school building. The project is the first of seven making up the Enel Cuore Community Empowerment Program to break ground, representing the culmination of more than a year of hard work by community members, Design Fellows, local partners, Enel Cuore and Architecture for Humanity.

The large audience at the ceremony was a testament to the enthusiastic following the project has gained in the community thanks to committed Architecture for Humanity Design Fellow Jesús Porras, who has been living in Talara since February. The value of his work in creating dialogue between all stakeholders was certainly felt on the day as students, teachers, builders and representatives from Eepsa, the Talara Municipality, and the Board of Education all gathered to take part.

The activity-filled day included a ceremonial cavity filling, in which a representative from each organization poured concrete into the first foundation excavation to set the project officially underway! The schoolchildren performed a song for their family and friends and showed off the model they had built of the school.

The crowd finally toasted to their future school (the adults with champagne; kids with Inca Kola) and looked on as a local priest blessed the site.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Santa Elena de Piedritas school in Talara, Peru.

Started in 2003 thanks to a donation from Endesa, Santa Elena de Piedritas is the only school in Talara. Faced with an increasing student population and buildings deteriorating due to the windy, arid conditions, the school is now in critical need of improved facilities. Since September 2012 Architecture for Humanity and the Enel Cuore foundation have been on a project to provide four new classrooms, toilets, a canteen, and create comfortable outdoor spaces for gathering and play currently missing in this remote community.


The school is part of the Enel Cuore Community Empowerment Program, a partnership between Enel Cuore and Architecture for Humanity that is harnessing the power of innovative design to build capacity in rural and urban areas affected by considerable poverty and social disadvantage. Through seven projects in seven countries, the program aims to empower communities to create sustainable, long-term solutions.
Images by Jesus Porras.

Showing off the model that the school kids built.

Some of the kids admiring their handiwork.

A local priest blesses the site of the new school.

The kids (sleepily) look on during the groundbreaking ceremony.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Santa Elena de Piedritas school in Talara, Peru.

AFH Design Fellow Jesus Porras adds concrete to the hole.