It has become a tradition since the Dakar first came to South America for race organisers A.S.O to support the NGO « TECHO » ("A roof for my country") and help provide for those in poor housing conditions as part of operation Únete a la carrera contra la pobreza ("Join the fight against poverty").
The regional governor, the mayor of Salta and Argentina's Minister of Tourism Enrique Meyer all came to the bivouac on the rest day to witness this act of solidarity.
The Dakar has given the association a total of 661,000 dollars since 2009, allowing it to build 180 houses, nine centres and four communal buildings in Peru, Argentina and Chile.
Driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, who has supported this charitable drive for two years, also handed over a cheque for 100,000 dollars during today's ceremony in Salta. Standing next to the rally's director and the Qatari rider, Sebastián Ruiz's entire family bear witness to the impact of this action. Together with his wife Paola Saldivia and their three children Isabela, Valentina and Francisco, the man from Salta explains how his life has changed since « TECHO » got in touch with him: "We used to live in a small shack, then under a tent, and then in a single room cobbled together from different materials.
One day, « TECHO » came to see us. I couldn't believe it. We received the keys to our new home last March. My wife and I have since joined « TECHO » to help other people." In Salta's La Cerámica neighbourhood, one of so many families is finally living a better life. And the Dakar is proud to have done its bit.
A.S.O. / DAKAR