Childcare Centre - Villa Florida

Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza | Centro de Dia

The Situation

The city of Quilmes is located 20km south of Buenos Aires, with a population of around 600,000 people. The neighbourhood of Bernal is particularly vulnerable, facing issues of domestic violence and theft, and limited access to education and recreation for children. Young people often take to roaming the streets for lack of facilities and services.

Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope) is a childcare centre operating out of Bernal  which provides opportunities for young people to learn and grow in a safe, enriching environment. The centre has been in operation for 12 years, thanks to the cooperation of local volunteers tasked with administrative, maintenance and catering duties. Skilled volunteers have the opportunity to share their knowledge by conducting workshops and providing school support and healthcare services, among other activities.

The current infrastructure barely meets the requirements of the existing centre. Small rooms and limited amenities heavily restrict attendance numbers and make catering difficult for staff. Furthermore, the nearby river and high water table makes the site susceptible to frequent flooding, which poses a risk to both children and volunteers and can force the centre out of operation for long periods.

The Project

ISF Argentina, in collaboration with centre staff, has developed a three-stage project to improve the centre. The stages are shown in the drawing below and will include the addition of new infrastructure and the remediation of existing facilities.


Drawing showing the three project stages.

Stage 1: Construction of a 60m  multi-purpose room, to be carried out by ISF Argentina.

Stage 2: Demolition of a section of the existing structure to build a lunchroom, bathrooms, warehouse, and office.

Stage 3: Demolition of the remaining structure to build two 30m  classrooms and an inner courtyard. This Stage will connect Stages 1 and 2.


Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3



As of July 2018, construction of Stage 1 is at approximately 90% completion. The design utilises reinforced concrete columns and beams with brick in-fill. The roof was completed using a combination of steel profiles, insulation and aluminium sheeting. Stage 1 incorporates a bathroom and storage area, with large windows to allow for natural lighting.

A soil study conducted prior to project commencement revealed the presence of high plasticity clay (USCS type CH) up to a depth of 0.9m  and low plasticity clay (USCS type CL) to a depth of 1.5m. Due to the highly active nature of the soil and the associated risk of expansion, uneven settlement and superstructure cracking, the partial or complete removal of the top layer to a minimum depth of 0.6m was deemed necessary.


Water management was of a key concern for the project due to regular flooding of the site. To this end a soakwell and drainage channels were added around the perimeter of the building footprint to divert floodwater and avoid erosion and soil volume fluctuations.

Our Involvement

HEIP Teams have contributed over 700 personnel hours to this project. In July 2017 the team worked extensively on the construction of the columns and commenced the brick in-fill. This involved substantial cutting and tying of the steel reinforcement, preparation of formwork, mixing and pouring the concrete columns and bricklaying. In January 2018 the team installed the roof steel profiles, insulation and sheeting as well as completed the rendering of the brick walls.