Welcome everybody to the very first Volunteers Peru newsletter! This will be the first of a monthly newsletter bringing you all of the latest from Arequipa, Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte and Colegio Honofre Benavides. We would like to be able to maintain good contact and relations with our alumni network. We hope that you enjoy the news from Peru (but if you don’t, please email us and you’ll be taken off the mailing list!).
We’re getting towards the end of our first year as a fully-functioning volunteer programme, and what a year it’s been! Our lovely Marita had already done the legal groundwork and brought a couple of volunteers through both projects during 2013. Ella arrived in January to get things started, to get our name out there, to get to know Torre Fuerte and Colegio Honofre Benavides, to recruit volunteers, and generally to ensure that we do as much as we can to help the projects. Eva arrived soon after to help her with anything and everything! Our first Volunteers Peru volunteer was the lovely Anke, a massage theriapist by trade, who spent a week at Torre Fuerte in February. The girls loved spending time with Anke, learning massage and having fun during their summer break.
Since then we have had seventeen more volunteer through our doors from five different countries, which has been so great for the children at both projects. The girls at Torre Fuerte love to have visitors to spend time with and to help them with homework, cleaning, pushing them on the swings…
The students in Tomepampa have also really enjoyed working with the volunteers (although there haven’t been as many there due to the long, long, bumpy journey from Arequipa). Volunteers Marissa and Alicia were a particular hit, and were given roses by the fifth grade boys on their last day!
This year we’ve also been trying hard to reach high professional standards and ensure that our procedures and paperwork are where they should be. Ella spent the first half of the year creating documents and procedures. Then in the summer, our intern Marissa revised everything for us and brought a new perspective and a fresh pair of eyes to the work that we do. In August, Eva attended a conference in Trujillo. The theme of the conference was expanding the impact of NGOs and volunteer programmes. Eva did a very well-received presentation on linking theory and practice. She also attended several workshops on other aspects of NGO management, which we will be putting into practice over the coming weeks.
At the end of August we had a very successful fundraiser at Déjà vu nightclub. We raised over 1000 soles, which will be divided evenly between the projects. In the last week we bought glasses for seven of the girls at Torre Fuerte who were struggling to see at school. With the money set aside for the school in Tomepampa, we’re hoping to do some improvements in the classrooms over their summer break in February.
Of course, when working with people, nothing ever runs quite smoothly, and we’ve had some challenges as well as some great times. We’re always working hard to maintain our relationships with the staff and the children at our projects. We’re always looking at ways that we can improve. With hard work and the support of our wonderful volunteers, both old and new, we’re confident that we can continue to do our best for the Torre Fuerte girls and the students in Tomepampa.
That’s all for now. We’ll be back in November with all the latest from Volunteers Peru!