After a long break from dance classes due to difficulties in obtaining a dance teacher, and one willing to travel the 90 minutes each way to the orphanage, we have finally started dance classes again! We got a lucky break meeting the amazing Clare, an English girl now living in Peru who volunteered to teach various kinds of dance including modern, hip-hop, salsa, and freestyle.
Of all the classes we’ve provided to the kids of Westfalia Orpahange, dance has always been their favourite and it’s great to see how involved they get. We are rehearsing for a dance performance at our annual Sonrisasenperu Christmas Party on December 22, so watch out for the photos and video!
Check out more of the projects we are doing, including at Westfalia Orphange, in our newsroom.
If you are able to help us continue with these important projects, especially coming up to Christmas, please send us a donation. Remember, it isn’t that hard to help make a difference in the lives of people so much worse off than ourselves … maybe one less takeaway/take-out this week. Every dollar counts!
We received an amazing donation of 4 Computers, 3 monitors, 2 printers, modems, keyboards, mouse, printer cartridges, and what seems like 5km of cables! A huge thank you to Astar Air Cargo LLC USA for getting them to Peru from The United States!
We want to donate them to poor, regional schools that do not have computers but we need some help! The computers’ hard-drives were wiped to delete any sensitive information so we need to get all the equipment serviced, install operating systems, and install Windows and Microsoft Office before the kids can use them. One of the printers isn’t working and needs to be repaired as well.
I am working on an approximate estimate of US$400 to get it all done, depending on what is exactly wrong with the printer. If you are able to help us get these computers working please make a donation. This might even be one for all the I.T. workers out there. If everyone working behind a computer donated $5 we’d have the funds in no time. Thanks! And keep watching for photos of the computers and where they end up!
One of my favourite projects to do is to help families in extreme poverty and try to make their lives a little easier. With the financial support from Bec, from Brisbane Australia, we went on the search for a family that needed immediate help. The director of a very poor school in Agustino, on the edge of Lima, Peru introduced us to Alejandra, who was from my one of the poorest families at the school. Alejandra is a 7 year old girl who lives with her mother, aunty and 77 year old grandmother. Her mother is uneducated and unemployed although occasionally works at the local markets making fresh orange juice or washing clothes. Her aunty has kidney renal failure, and needs dialysis three times a week to drain the body of fluids, toxins, and balance electrolytes, which usually your kidneys would do. She has had this condition for over 20 years and needs a kidney transplant. Alejandra’s father left when she was 3 months old and has had no contact with her since and provides no money.
The area where they live is dangerous, very poor, dirt roads, no parks, and poor water cleanliness (there is a need to boil all consumable water). Their living conditions are poor, they don’t have a bathroom, shower or running water. They share a communal bathroom/shower behind their apartment with 4 other dwellings. Their apartment has windows but no glass attached and only covered by loose material and is cold at night. They have concrete flooring, a small stove which runs off a portable gas bottle, no fridge and the beds are in terrible condition (one was an old fold-out spring bed which must have been at least 30 years old). Their rent is 200 Peruvian soles per month (US$ 75). Due to the unemployment of Alejandra’s mother and the medical problems of Alejandra’s aunty and the age of the grandmother, they struggle week-to-week and it was very evident in their living conditions and lack of food.
Alejandra has few books, and they are mostly toddlers’ jigsaw books with missing pieces. When asked what she would like most she said food after hearing her mother say the same, but when pressed she teared up a little and mentioned toys because she only has the soft fluffy toys she has had since being a baby. She mostly wore the same old clothes on various different meetings and there wasn’t a lot of food in the house. The director of the school told me Alejandra is a keen student, extremely well behaved but behind the level of the other kids, particularly in mathematics (probably due to her mother being unable to help her with homework due to her own poor education level). Personally I was struck by the sweet nature of Alejandra and how happy she seems to be regardless of their financial situation.
Our initial concern for Alejandra and her family was their lack of food. On Sunday 29 July we delivered various foods, rice, beans, sugar, washing powder, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cereal, cooking oil, etc. In August we also delivered some gifts for Alejandra…much needed clothes, books, some educational games and toys and a set of dolls. We set up weekly tutoring for Alejandra to help improve her level. We also want to help her mother to be more self-sufficient and be able to provide for her family. We are discussing the possibility of providing a small portable cooker for her to sell hamburgers and snacks in front of the school or in the markets.
Sadly Alejandra’s case is not unusual in Peru. For so many families it is a daily struggle to survive. We really need to be thankful for having clean water, for having food and receiving a good education. A big thank you to Bec and her friends in Australia for wanting to make a difference to a poor family here and donating money to make this possible. We’ll keep you posted on Alejandra’s tutoring and school results! We want to help out as many families as possibly, particularly coming up to Christmas. If you are able to help us continue with these incredibly important projects please send us a donation, and remember every dollar counts! You can also specify exactly what you would like to do with your donation. Sometimes people want to buy food for Westfalia Orphanage, clothes or shoes for the poor, etc.
Thanks for keeping track of what we’re up to! As always, feel free to share this on Facebook or email your friend to try and spread the word. Thanks!
Westfalia Orphanage is a non-government rural orphanage on the outskirts of Lima, Peru and home to around 100 children from a few months old to 18 years old. Receiving only a monthly quota of rice from the government the orphanage struggles to care for these children from all kinds of backgrounds, physical, sexual abuse, abandonment, street kids or simply where their families cannot afford to feed and take care of them. With your support we recently helped provide a clean drinking water system for the kids. Previously they were using the contaminated local river water for drinking, bathing and washing with. Now they need our help once again.
The kitchen stove pictured above has served the orphanage since it began 20 years and is now well overdue for a replacement. The stove initially had 6 burners, of which only 2 presently work. The other 4 have malfunctioned, including gas leaks, to the point where they had to be removed. This industrial stove is the only means of cooking for the 100 children and over 20 carers and uses huge pots that hold around 200 litres (50 gallons). Cooking in a regular home for a family would be difficult with only 2 functioning cookers, so cooking for well over 100 people with only 2 is almost impossible. Not to mention the safety concern with such an old stove with a history of gas leaks.
The quote for a replacement stove (the same commercial brand as the existing stove) is US $1,150 (or S/3000 Peruvian Soles). There is also a need to replace the small pots used to carry food to the individual seven houses. The current pots are often missing handles, have leaks and are in a terrible condition. So we are hoping to raise a total of US $1,500.
If you would like to help, please send a donation. If you aren’t financially able to help, you could help spread the word and tell your friends and family about www.sonrisasenperu.org. Share this post on your social media or forward the email. Thank you for your support and helping to make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves.
English classes have started again at Westfalia Orphanage! A huge thanks to Alex and Business Links institute in Lima for donating all the English texts for the children. A big thanks also goes out to the teachers at Business Links who donate their Saturdays to go all the way to Cieneguilla to teach the children (over 90 minutes each way by public transport!).
Two classes run concurrently and we have different teachers come each week to give the kids a better learning experience and to allow them to hear different accents (sadly we only have one Australian representative to teach them the real way to speak!).
The kids love the classes and it’s also a great way to teach them a skill and give them an edge when it comes time to look for work amongst the almost 9 million people in Lima, Peru.