Santo Toribio (Otra Cosa Program) - Peru
Previous Womens' Refuge: Centro de Promocion de Pa Mujer Manos de Pais (Otra Cosa program) - Peru
Anna, Meindert, Noemi, Susannah Jerome and I met up with Juany again at Corporacion de Educacion Popular, a school for the local poor children. We met Father Victor Hugo Tumba Ortiz, who has been volunteering his time to working at the school since it first opened four years ago. The Municipality gave land, and then the school was built out of a series of miracle donations from all over the world! It began with 40 children who sat in a little hut, and has now grown to a school of about 240 children. As more children come, the school is built bigger.
There are many migrant families in the area that come from the Highlands, and the teachers at the school are trying to empower the parents by educating their children. It is fantastic here because it is a community school where parents get really involved and help with things such as cleaning and decorating classrooms.
We visited all of the classrooms where different age groups were learning. In one of the classes, I remember Father Victor Hugo say a wise thing. “The world will get sick if everybody keeps throwing everything everywhere,” he said. We visited the dining area, and were told that the mothers come in to cook for their children in the afternoons. It only costs 50 soles (about $18 AUD) to cook for 250 people!!
At the moment the fathers of the children and also some volunteers are helping with construction, but they are in desperate need of more volunteers. Three men from Otra Cosa came to the school to build a protection area for the food area. When Juany was in England, she held a breakfast fundraiser, which raised enough money for running water for four toilets.
The children have a much better life here than they would at home, and especially with the volunteers and Father Victor Hugo being so dedicated to the project. He even slept in the library for a while so that he could be there if anyone needed help with anything at all. One volunteer Jacqueline has been working at the school for four years. She came to do practical work for social studies at her university, and never left. She works from the morning till the afternoon, and has never had a holiday.
On the way back to the house in the taxi, the police pulled us over twice and nearly took the license of the cab driver away. Jerome had to charm them all, and thankfully we were let go and waved off after explaining the good work we were trying to do.
If you would like to donate to or volunteer at Corporacion de Educacion Popular visit http://www.otracosa.nl/.