Fundación Chacras de Buenos Aires (FCBA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Andrea Vega, founder and director of the Foundation, grew up in the YMCA (Young Men Christian Association) in an environment of respect and consideration for the values of life: justice, love, peace and solidarity. Her youth was spent during a critical moment of the country: the military dictatorship. She decided to help others, assisting professors and teaching to swim to a group of children with Down syndrome. During this period she learnt about leadership and to find cooperation between different groups in society, in matters related to social, economic, political and cultural issues in which there could be coincidences that do not contradict their own identities.
After graduating from high school, celebrating the return of Democracy, she started to work for the National Justice System, but she felt that she needed to work for a greater cause. So she decided, together with some friends, to do social work in an underprivileged town in Buenos Aires city, called “Villa de emergencia 21”.
In 2001, the government gave her team a warehouse of 900m2 in front of Villa 21 for the development of their mission. Together with local and foreign volunteers they created a multifunctional space that was used to feed the community, to do social activities, to teach workshops and to exhibit art.
Andrea was the driving force behind this idea as she was nearing the end of her university career. To strengthen her thesis work, based on the development of vulnerable communities, taking tourism as a tool, she decided to work as a volunteer in the Spanish community of Peñiscola, since in Argentina this was not yet discussed. In Spain, she was able to see that self-managed tourism by the communities and sustainable development were possible.
Back in Buenos Aires, she graduated, with honors, as a Bachelor in Tourism, focus in inclusive tourism in Argentina. Immediately, the Argentine Government called her to implement her proposal throughout the country. The project consisted of teaching communities about sustainable development, fair tourism and self-management of rural enterprises. Andrea shared her knowledge and at the same time learned from this people new techniques of sustainable construction, which today are one of the pillars of the Foundation.
The team started in the Delta Islands, in the province of Buenos Aires and then, they travelled all over the country. During this experience they taught to the locals about fair trade, teamwork, cooperativism, among other things. And learned a lot about natural construction! After two years, the Government ran out of budget and decided to end the project. It was there that they understood that this virtuous circle could not be stopped and they founded “Fundación Chacras de Buenos Aires, desarrollo humano sustentable” .
The foundation was the perfect combination of their areas of interest and therefore decided to involve people with disabilities, known in the foundation as “Guardianes del Ambiente”.