Casa Weekly

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sad News: Casa break-in

Dear Friends,

Unfortunately this time I'm writing with sad news to share: on Tuesday night, January 17th, the Casa was broken into here in Rio and our 7 computers for community access were destroyed. Two were taken outright, the other 5 were taken apart for pieces, gutted from the inside. Monitors remained standing, and keyboards, mouses, etc. But the actual hard drives were decimated.

The good news is no one was hurt, and the central computer where the contents of all our community groups and staff work is stored was in our upstairs office untouched. I have since brought that computer home, while we figure out next steps.

The truth is we knew security in the neighborhood where the Casa is located had been quickly deteriorating, with several break-ins in the recent past. The Catholic Church thought it was doing the neighborhood a favor by evacuating an entire block of residents to gut the houses and build a school, but in so doing they created a space of urban decay, a nighttime desert awaiting crime.

We had discussed as a staff what to do about this. We had decided we were ready to move to a more permanent location, and so our plan in 2006 was to develop partnerships with city government and local businesses to establish a permanent location with new equipment and more security.

We are now debating what to do next. Any suggestions from the Onet community would be warmly appreciated. Here are some of our concerns:

  1. We do not want to be long without working computers for the community leaders who depend on this space and these computers for their outreach and communications efforts.
  2. We do not want to be at risk again.
  3. We believe it is time to move to a more permanent location.
  4. We would like to involve other NGOs in the new space, creating a joint Casa that supports NGO and community initiatives throughout the city.
We are sending a letter to our local partners in Rio looking for short-term support with computer donations/loans, security, and leads on spaces.

We would LOVE your ideas!!! How can we transform this situation!?