Where We Work
The Turimiquire Foundation works through its sister organization Fundación ServYr, based in the city of Cumaná, capital of the State of Sucre, located on Venezuela’s northeastern Caribbean coast. Cumaná is said to be the site of one of the earliest continental landings by Christopher Columbus, and to be the oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement on mainland South America.
We take our name from the local Turimiquire mountain range, which peaks at over 8,000 feet, forming the backbone of the State of Sucre. Turimiquire, pronounced Too-ree-mee-kée-ray, means the “Seat of the Gods” in the indigenous Carib language (now extinct), and refers to the majestic saddles formed by the steep peaks and valleys in these mountains.
Located on the eastern coastline of Venezuela, the state of Sucre is noted for its Caribbean climate and culture.
Venezuela is a country that has struggled with rapid population growth, explosive urban migration, and serious economic inequities. It is currently in the midst of a protracted, highly polarized socio-political crisis, resulting in pervasive institutional and economic instability. In the last several years in particular, there has been increasing scarcity of basic consumer items, including food and medicines, with very high rates of inflation and crime, making the country a very challenging place to live in, especially for its extensive low-income populations.
The State of Sucre is a rural region of great physical beauty with a wonderful Caribbean climate, but with chronically unmet human need, particularly in the areas of health and education. Many families live far from roads and electricity, schools and hospitals. Lack of access to these public services undermines their efforts to improve their lives and develop sustainable livelihoods, leading to widespread migration to the cities, whose infrastructures simply cannot handle this snowballing growth.
Sucre’s undeveloped and largely rural nature makes it similar to the Appalachian region of the United States. The state is typically well below the Venezuelan national average in every major social index. In the most recent reports available, the Informe Sobre Desarrollo Humano en Venezuela, compiled in 1995 and 2002 by the Venezuelan Government in conjunction with the U.N. Population Fund and Development Program, Sucre placed 19th out of the 23 Venezuelan states with respect to human development and quality of life.
There have been no reliable reports since 2002, but the catastrophic economic crisis beginning in 2014 has brought notable deterioration on every level, though the government has not released specific figures.