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Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre

Their Pluses

Ecuador is home to an extremely rich diversity of landscape and culture. Saraguro, a little mountain village situated to the south of Cuenca, is a good example of this. The area is populated largely by indigenous people who live alongside the Métis community.

It is here that Pierre Hameau, a representative of a Spanish NGO, came to work for three years. His goal was to set up an agricultural cooperative project with several members of the indigenous community of Saraguro.

Unfortunately, Pierre passed away in 2011 following a bus accident. After his death, Pierre’s family and friends decided to continue his work by founding a youth centre in Saraguro. And so, la Casa de Juventud Mashi Pierre was born.

The association, created initially by Pierre and subsequently those close to him, has a dual purpose:

Firstly, the need to develop relationships between Saraguro’s two communities; the Métis and the indigenous populations. Among the youths, the Métis and indigenous adolescents rarely spend time together, instead forming distinct, homogenous groups. The Casa de Juventud Mashi Pierre was created with the aim of providing an apolitical place, without any ties to either community, in order to bring the two populations together through communal activities.

Further to this aim, Pierre’s family and the members of the project also wanted to work to overcome three major problems experienced by youths in Saraguro: alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, and urban migration. Indeed, by proposing to occupy these youths’ free time with activities that are not only fun, but also cultural and educational, the association hopes to be able to make an impact on the major causes of these problems. 

More information on their Facebook or their webpage. 

Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre

Promotes cultural development and contact between mixed race and native young people in Saraguro by means of socio-cultural activities.

Andes / Loja
Social and economic development
Adolescents Young adults
Human Financial


June, Wenesday 21 2017

May, Wenesday 31 2017

July, Tuesday 19 2016

July, Tuesday 19 2016

International Solidarity Camp with French teenagers from neighborhood with problems

July, Tuesday 19 2016


From July 19 to August 10, 2016, the Mashi-Pierre Youth House has received a group of French teenager from Vaulx-en-Velin (Lyon suburbs) on the occasion of an international solidarity camp.

These teenagers lived three weeks full of workshops, learning, adventures, cultural exchange and friendship.

We would like to thank teenagers, coordinators and everybody who has shared with us this beautiful experience in Saraguro, Quito, Manabí and in the Amazonia.



International Solidarity work site with French young teens from delicate neighbourhoods

July, Tuesday 19 2016

From 2016 July 19th to August 10th, the casa of Juventud Mashi-Pierre welcomed a group of French teens coming from Vaulx-En-Velin (located in suburbs of Lyon), for an International Solidarity work site project.

They have lived 3 very intense weeks on the working site, with discoveries, adventures, cultural and friendship exchanges.

Thanks to all the young people, to the animations’ crew and to all the people with whom we shared this beautiful experience in Saraguro, Quito, Manabi and in Amazonia. 



July, Tuesday 5 2016

June, Wenesday 1 2016

June, Wenesday 1 2016

Children’s Day

June, Wenesday 1 2016



On June 1, 2016, on the occasion of the Children’s Day celebration in Ecuador, the Mashi-Pierre Youth House organized special activities for children in Saraguro main square. On this unique day, there were games, mask crafting, snacks, joy, laughs and fun.


Celebrating Childhood Day

June, Wenesday 1 2016


At the occasion of the celebration of the Ecuadorian Childhood Day on 2016 June 1st, the casa of Juventud Mashi-Pierre organised special activities for children on the central square in Saraguro. Games, funny masks creation, snacks, joy, laughs, and entertainment were at the heart of this unique day!


May, Saturday 21 2016

May, Saturday 21 2016

Camp for the creation of a youth web in Saraguro

May, Saturday 21 2016


On its mission to facilitate the zone’s development and youth fullness, on May 21 and 22, the Mashi-Pierre Youth House organized and coordinated a camp addressed to the youth from Saraguro canton. Participants had the opportunity to gather in order to create a youth web from Saraguro. After a day of debates, round tables and workshops, the youth, gathered by topics (human rights, education, civic engagement, arts and culture, health and sports), proposed projects with common objectives. These proposals will be reviewed by the local government to plan the youth policy for 2017.



Construction site of the Saraguro’s Youth network

May, Saturday 21 2016


In order to facilitate the blossoming and development of local youth, on this May, 21st and 22nd, the casa of Juventus Mashi-Pierre has organised and coordinated the organisation of a work site of young people from Saraguro’s canton. Participants were able to meet so as to construct a network of Saraguro’s Youth. After a day of discussions, tables and work groups, the young people, divided by several themes (human rights, education, civic participation, art, culture, health and sport) suggested projects with mutual objectives. These suggestions will be taken into account by the local government to plan the youth politic program for 2017.


February, Monday 29 2016

February, Monday 29 2016

Personal fulfilment workshop

February, Monday 29 2016

On Monday, February 29, The Mashi-Pierre foundation took part in the organization of a personal fulfilment workshop-seminar named “Hazme sentir importante” (“Make me feel important”) conducted by a Colombian psychotherpist. Thirty eight people from different ages, indigenous and mestizo, participated in this event. Using a participative and dynamic methodology, based on ludic moments and personal reflections alternation, the psychotherapist guided participants through a process of expression and release of individual pain and suffering. The  day finished with the symbolic burning of small pieces of paper in which each person had written personal problems.

We thank all those who collaborated in the workshop organization and also those who participated in the creation of an authentic and sincere debate, making it a unique and unforgettable experience.

Personal blossoming work group

February, Monday 29 2016

On Monday, February 29th, the foundation Mashi-Pierre, took part to the organisation of a « seminary/group-work » about personal blossoming that was named « make me feel important » and animated by a Colombian psychotherapist. Thirty eight people, with different ages, that are indigenous and mixed-blood also participated to the event. By adopting a dynamic and participative methodology, based on the balance of funny moments and personal reflexions, the psychotherapist guided the participants in a sort of process that enabled each of them to express and get rid of their pains and sufferings.

This day symbolically ended with each burning little papers on which they wrote their personal troubles.

A big thanks to all of those who have collaborated to the organisation of this group work, and to all of those who took part to it by creating an authentic and sincere place of discussion and by making this experience unique and unforgettable! 

Visit of Rémi Bacouillard from the France’s Embassy

February, Monday 22 2016

On September 2015 24th, the Casa Juventud Mashi Pierre has welcomed Rémi Bacouillard, in charge of Technical Cooperation Missions at France’s Embassy. The aim of his visit was to meet the association members, the volunteers and also know more about the Library project launched some months ago thanks to the French embassy’s help.

February, Monday 22 2016

February, Monday 22 2016

We welcome our new volunteers!

February, Monday 22 2016

The Mashi-Pierre Youth House welcomes its two new volunteers: Diego Regosa is Italian and he will stay with us for 6 months. Elisabeth Tichon, from Belgium, will stay with us for 2 years. They have already met the house’s children and their first encounter with them was very positive. They are very excited and willing to collaborate in the activities and in the house coordination.

They have been received with great pleasure by the association president, Dr. Luis Antonio Vacacela, and had had the opportunity to try the best the local gastronomy has to offer.



October, Wenesday 14 2015

October, Wenesday 14 2015

News from the Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre !

June, Saturday 20 2015

In June, the president of the association “Les Amis de Pierre pour Saraguro”, Hubert Humeau, together with his wife Anne-Marie, came to Saraguro. They met the volunteers and members of the Mashi Pierre Saraguro Foundation, as well as some important actors from Saraguro. During their stay, the Foundation gathered in General Assembly and elected a new president: Doctor Luis Vacacela, who was vice-president before.

The members thanked Laura Zhaguï, president since the creation in 2013. The new vice-president is called Kleber Sozoranga. He is a young man aged 22, who has just integrated the Foundation. The treasurer is María Ordoñez. Johnny Cabrera stays secretary of the Foundation.

Translated by Lucie Gil


In Sagaruro, the children and youth celebrate Mother's Day on the radio!

May, Sunday 3 2015

On Sunday 3 Mai, Ecuador celebrated Mother's Day. It's a particularly important celebration in Latin America for children, the young and their families.

On this occasion, the Casa Mashi Pierre association proposed a radio show dedicated to this event. It was broadcast by Saraguro Radio, the radio of the "Buen Pastor". Different children who are chaperonned by the association read out poems that were broadcast live. This was followed by a discussion by other members of the association (children and youth) about the role of mothers in Ecuador.

Mashi Pierre makes its fanesca!

April, Wenesday 1 2015

Throughout Holy Week, a typical dish is honored in Ecuador: fanesca. A symbol of intermixing, it is a dish containing all sorts of grains: corn, wheat, beans, etc. Fish and meat are added according to local customs and availability, as well as vegetables.


In Saraguro, Mashi Pierre organized for the first time this year a community meal on the occasion of Holy Week. The members of the foundation offered fanesca at a modest price on the town hall square. It was an occasion to give more visibility to the association, while offering a moment of conviviality over local products!

Translated by Julie Yelle

Inauguration of Casa de la Juventud’s library!

February, Wenesday 25 2015

We were overjoyed in October when the Casa de Juventud was granted a subsidiary by the French Embassy to build a multimedia library in Saraguro: it is now all stations go: on 25 February, the library opened its doors to the public

A widespread giving campaign and book drive was organised in Ecuador. The library currently grants its users access to around 300 books in Spanish, English and French! If you are living in Ecuador and have books that you would not mind parting ways with in order to benefit the community, please feel free to drop off any donations at Una Opción Mas in Quito. Please be sure to send an email beforehand to the following address:

With books to appeal to readers of all ages as well as a collection of Ecuadorian films, a selection of game and a computer area, this new library is looking to be a forum that promotes access to culture and communication technologies.

During the inauguration, several local personalities were present to mark the occasion: the mayor, members of partner associations and also representatives from different schools that were interested in Casa de la Juventud’s proposal to organise workshops for the children and youth of the community. For its part, the mayor’s office also committed to giving the Casa de la Juventud a helping hand with different logistical aspects: support for the periodic renovation of the premises as well as technical maintenance of computing equipment. The possibilities of collaboration that the new library has given way to are endless and this will without a doubt strengthen the spirit of Saraguro’s community. 

Translated by Malikah Alibhai 

The French Ambassador visits the Mashi Pierre Foundation

October, Saturday 25 2014

On Saturday 25th October, the Mashi Pierre Youth Centre received a visit from the French Ambassador to Ecuador, François Gauthier, and his wife.

The ambassador had used the opportunity of being in nearby Loja for a meeting with the provincial prefect in order to come to Saraguro.

Upon arrival, the Ambassador was received by Abel Sarangu, first indigenous mayor of Saraguro, with whom he exchanged ideas on some of the problematic issues affecting the area. With around 30,000 inhabitants, Saraguro has problems with management of drinking water systems, public roads, health, and food sovereignty.

The ambassador was pleased to talk about the collaboration agreement to be signed between France and Saraguro in 2015. Through the agreement, the French Development Agency (AFD) will grant a loan of over 100 million dollars to the Banco del Estado, the bank which finances development projects in Ecuador relating to two priority issues; alternative energy sources and drinking water management. Mr Gauthier also mentioned the possibility of twinning Saraguro with a French city which could pave the way to greater cooperation through technology. The discussion was filmed by Saraguro TV and can be watched here.

The next stop was the Mashi Pierre Foundation, where Clémence Le Moal presented the Foundation’s activities to all present; language courses, film showings, cloth workshops, cooking, school support and a month-long circus project from last spring.

The ambassador got to meet the project members and some partners. The exchanges continued over dinner at the Shamuico restaurant which offers a fusion of Ecuadorian and European cuisine at modest and accessible prices.

The cultural service department of the French Embassy will most likely cooperate with the Foundation to provide material, particularly books for the construction of a library in 2015.

The Une Option de Plus team was also able to forge a friendly relationship with the Ambassador and his wife and we hope to see them again soon.

Translated by Rory Mc Donald

In Saraguro, the youth is being celebrated in all its diversity

August, Friday 29 2014

For the World Youth Day, various youth organizations of Saraguro proposed a holiday to all of the youth of the town. Thus, the Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre et MIEspacio Juvenil, local office of the Youth Ministry joined the Wampra native movement, which organizes the event every year.

The day began with a march of the youth in the city of Saraguro and a signing ritual of introducing the new president of Wampra. Each organization, as well as the municipality was then invited to present their actions.

For the 150 participants, it was time to compete under three events in a competition: drawing, spinning top, and dance. Then during the evening, four local bands performed live at the Saraguro square for the youth and their families.

For the members of Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre, youth and volunteers “it was a very good day, and the participants attested to that. However, the majority of the young people who were present were indigenous and did not represent the diversity of the youth of Saraguro.

La Casa de la Juventud hopes to have more young people participate at this event next year!

Translated by Jean Louis Davigny


December, Friday 13 2013

From December 7th to 13th, the Mashi Pierre Youth Centre travelled to Quito with 13 young people from Saraguro to visit the XVIII World Festival of Young People and Students. They attended the international event which has been promoting world peace and anti-imperialism since 1947.

It was an intense week of with debates, conferences and workshops. The young people had the chance to learn about the realities of life in different countries around the world and refresh their knowledge of the situation in Ecuador. They also got to meet other young people from around the globe who are fighting for a fairer and more inclusive world.

It wasn’t all hard work though. As well as the academic element, during their week in the capital the young people also got to experience artistic shows, dance, graffiti, tourist trips and a visit to Yachay, city of knowledge.

We all learnt a great deal during the week-long trip which strengthened our friendship and our dedication to helping our society.

Translated by Rory MacDonald

Minka in the Mashi Pierre Youth Home

August, Tuesday 27 2013

Teamwork, as well as being more efficient, is more rewarding. So, on August 27th, a group of children, youth, adults, indigenous, mixed, and European people, were working together towards the same goal: to arrange the community of the Mashi Pierre Youth Home.   

For those who do not know, for the past year, the foundation has functioned in the local of the National Teachers’ Union, that had fallen into disuse, and which was given to the foundation in order to restore it and put it to good use. The day began at 9 a.m., with laughter, good music, and an ample disposition towards working. Throughout the several hours of work, the volunteers did not lack good food, to recover strength for a hard but beautiful day of work.

Every time, the space kept improving, and everyone could see, with their own eyes, that they were going to construct a place that would belong to all of them. With the expansion of the house, we will generate more space for arts, games, and learning.

Congratulations to all! 

Translated by Yvonne Krywyj 

How you can help


Private, nonprofit association, with a public or social motive Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion (MIES)

Located at an altitude of 2400 m above sea level in the south Sierra, 1.5 hours' travel by bus from Loja, Saraguro is a pleasant and calm village with a majority of native inhabitants. Surrounded by many green hills, it offers numerous possibilities for hiking, together with a colourful market every Sunday.

The French association "Les Amis de Pierre pour Saraguro" was founded on 17 March 2012 by the parents of Pierre Hameau after his death in a bus accident in February 2011.

Pierre worked for ACSUR, a Spanish NGO, and was in the process of establishing an agricultural cooperative to sell local products. He was an agronomist with a qualification in the management of sustainable financial projects. He was well-acquainted with the country, where he had also worked on the Yasuni project with the UN.

Following his death, those close to him wanted to do something to continue his work. As he was closely involved with the native communities, it was decided to do something for them.

Friends in Quito suggested creating a multicultural centre for young people in Saraguro, a village with a majority native population where Pierre had worked and developed many warm friendships. It was thus decided to create the association "Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre" in Saraguro.

Fray Cristóbal Zambrano y Loja (opposite the arena)



Adriana Camacho / Coordinator:

The centre is managed on a daily basis by the coordinator, supported by a number of highly committed beneficiaries.

The administrative council:
=> Adriana Camacho: Coordinator
=> Laura Zhajui: President
=> Jose Vacacela: Vice-President
=> Denilson Toro: Treasurer
=> Jhonny Cabrera: Secretary

The centre regularly proposes cultural activities aimed at young people in Saraguro. These activities are defined in consultation with the participants in order to meet their expectations as fully as possible. They aim to satisfy the desires of both the mixed race and native young people, either separately (e.g. traditional dance for native and tropical dance for mixed race young people) or by means of shared activities (e.g. theatre, radio programmes etc.)

The association has two objectives:
-to offer to the young people in Saraguro extra-curricular cultural activities in order to prevent three major problems: alcoholism, early pregnancy and urban migration.
-to unite the young mixed race and native people of Saraguro by means of shared activities and projects

=> Guitar courses
=> French courses
=> English courses
=> Manual work courses
=> IT courses
=> Massage and relaxation courses
=> Drawing courses
=> Graffiti and urban art seminar
=> Educational support
=> Theatre and puppets
=> Introduction to social and political thought and commitment
=> Tropical dance courses for young people and children
=> Traditional Saraguro dance courses for children
=> Sport and games sessions
=> Film screenings
=> Library
=> Debates
=> Educational and recreational camps

Forty beneficiaries aged between 9 and 25 years have participated in various activities of the foundation. On a daily basis, It receives between 20 and 25.