by Alfredo Oporto, CUDA's executive director
The following is a summary of the speech Alfredo gave at our 10-year anniversary ceremony.
In 2008 two families, the McKinzies and the Smiths, arrived in Arequipa with the mission of planting churches supported by several people and churches. They also wanted to work in development. Meanwhile, I was in Arequipa working in development as Coordinator of the Peace Corps. As a man of faith I do not believe in coincidences, I believe that God prepares us for what his work should be. That is why everything in my personal and working life worked together to stay in Arequipa and together we started to work to form what CUDA is today.
We are called the Christian Urban Development Association because we want to work in the city where the problems and the misery that affects the least protected is greater. We started with several ideas. Our projects were to support small entrepreneurs who were granted small loans to develop their businesses, then we tried to develop communities, and we also supported health with the diabetes project. All these projects were good ideas but eventually we had to close them. We had a library project that worked first as communal libraries. We always had the help of my Rotary friends, we were in several communities but all the proposed goals were not fulfilled until we arrived at the schools and it is there where this project flourished and it is now the project that guides us along the way.
We are an NGO for education. This project has good results that involve the work of several people who have enriched it by contributing their creativity and experience.
We have more plans for the future based on this experience, we have the presence of Bobbie Solley, founder of the Bobbie Solley Foundation who has been supporting us with what is sometimes the most difficult to get support for: salaries. She is here to let us know that her foundation’s support should continue.
The gospel tells us “once Jesus was preaching and someone said ‘Jesus, your mother and brothers are looking for you’, to which he answered ‘these are my mother and my brothers: all those who do the will of my father’” What is the Father's will but to do good to others, especially to those most in need, and that is why I can say that I have brothers and sisters here and in the United States because together we do good with this work of God called CUDA.