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Agents of Change

For residents of the Prosperina community Guayaquil, Ecuador, simply leaving their community used to mean a treacherous climb up a muddy slope. But with an Agents of Change grant from Unbound, Ángel and other community members built a staircase, allowing residents to safely access the main road in their community.

Ángel and his son Yasmani descend the newly constructed stairs in the Prosperina community in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The community is now able to go to and from the main street safely without the risk of slips or falls.

Stairway to a safer community

Imagine being unable to leave your neighborhood every time it rained. Or, if you do, you run the risk of falling, getting covered in mud or injuring yourself. That was the reality for the Prosperina neighborhood in Guayaquil, Ecuador, before members of the community got together to propose building stairs on a hill to the main road.

According to Ángel, a father of two children sponsored through Unbound and a member of the community, the dangerous climb out of the neighborhood had been a problem for at least 15 years. It was made worse in the winter, when it rains more and the slope became almost impossible to climb.

Organizing a community

Ángel organized members from the community, including the mothers group his wife is part of, and suggested they apply for an Unbound Agents of Change grant to build the stairs. Because the $500 grant would not cover the entire cost, they also held activities such as bingo to raise funds.

“We visualized [the stairs] and said that we have to do it,” Ángel said. “Although we thought before that we had no resources, Unbound gave us the grant for this project. We gathered the community and told them that we need everyone's support, and once they saw we had the resources to do it, they came out to help.”

A core group of 30 community members worked on the stairs, donating time and some material so the total cost of the project was $800. They began construction in May, and by working on the project every weekend they managed to finish in July.

Creating a safer community

“People tell us that it feels good, that there is more access and it is easier to climb,” Ángel said.

Now that the stairs are in place, the community is looking at other needs to address. They've seen what they can accomplish when they work together and are eager to do more. According to Ángel, the community is already discussing hosting another bingo event to raise funds so they can install a streetlamp and make their community even safer.