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2015 in review

2015 December 5

 

2015 is almost over and it’s been a busy year at Westfalia Orphanage as always. Westfalia is a private orphanage on the outskirts of Lima, Peru and takes care of more than 120 children. Most have no family and will live at the orphanage until they are about 18. From there they will take up apprenticeships, further studies, or work. I just wanted to share some photos of the year and send a big thank you to you all for following the updates and helping when you’ve been able to. For those that aren’t aware, we have a page on facebook which is a little easier for more regular updates. Please check it out and ‘like‘ to keep updated. And, of course, feel free to share on your own page or with friends. The more publicity the better! Simply click on the Facebook icon on the right hand side, “Fan It Up”, or simply search “Sonrisas en Peru”.

 

We’ve had some difficult circumstances this year with 2 abandoned babies (Macarena was only about 2 days old) as well as other new children so it’s been a stretch to provide the resources for them (baby formula, nappies, cribs, bottles, vaccinations, clothes, etc.) while still providing for the 120+ children. The only assistance received from the Peruvian government is rice, but the amount is insufficient for the number of children at the orphanage. But a few people really helped out and it made the difference. Macarena is now 3 months old and Thiago is about a year old. Sadly, the doctors had to estimate both their ages since they were abandoned. But they are doing really well now and are now a part of the big family here.

Another important job is to help out with the supply of food. The orphanage does a great job with self-sustainability by growing their own fruit and vegetables and baking their own bread (not to mention solar power!), but 120+ kids plus staff is a big ask. I try to take up fruit and eggs every week as well as other food supplies such as flour, oil, rice, beans, etc. when funds allow.

And of course the help from our amazing friends visiting Peru!

The annual Sonrisasenperu Christmas party is coming up on December 19 so it’s a busy time organizing that. There will be gifts for the kids, a big turkey lunch, a huge music/dance show, games and prizes and of course Santa. If you would like to help out please send a donation or help spread the word by copying this post onto your facebook or twitter.

Thanks for helping to make a difference! And look out for the Chritmas photos :)

Westfalia Orphanage’s newest additions

2015 August 9

Westfalia Orphanage in Peru has 2 new additions. Kind of sad how they came to be there but it’s nice to know they now have a home filled with love and 120 new brothers and sisters.

Macarena was about 2 days old when she was abandoned on the streets of San Juan de Lurigancho, one of the poorest suburbs in Lima, Peru. The only possession she had with her was a blanket, shown in the photo above. Police took her to the hospital where the doctor had to estimate her age. The government contacted Westfalia and Macarena is now in their care. She is being looked after by one of the staff who has 3 boys so she is very happy to finally have a girl!

 

Thiago edit

The other newest member to the orphanage is Thiago. Sadly, he was also abandoned, left on a doorstep in another poor and dangerous area. He was estimated to be under a year old. The police said that somebody in the street mentioned the mother was a 16 year old that couldn’t take care of him. Like Macarena, doctors had to guess Thiago’s age.

 

These 2 new additions bring the total to 5 babies under 18 months of age, all new to Westfalia. This has put an extra strain on resources to come up with formula, nappies, food, clothes, baby bottles, etc. Soon after their arrival I bought clothes, nappies and formula and take up formula, nappies, clothes, etc. whenever I can, but it’s definitely a challenge. We also need to arrange cots/cribs, etc.

Of course the regular  food and clothes requirements of the orphanage still need to be met. With over 120 children there are always pressing needs. We have received some amazing help and, as always, welcome any assistance we can get.

The only government assistance Westfalia receive is a monthly quota of rice which isn’t even enough for the 120+ children so the orphanage relies on donations to care for these kids. If you would like to help out please send a donation or help spread the word by copying this post onto your facebook or twitter.

Thanks for making a difference! :)

 

Hawaii’s Punahou High School project for our kids!

2015 July 22

A huge thank you to Mr Earle and the students from PUNAHOU HIGH SCHOOL, in Honolulu, Hawaii, for their amazing project, writing and illustrating children’s books for the children of Westfalia Orphanage. His students are learning Spanish and part of the course was a project to create these incredible children’s books. Mr Earle sent them from Hawaii all the way to Peru and they were handed out to the kids of Westfalia Orphanage. As you can see by the photos they were a hug hit!

Thanks so much for your wonderful effort guys! My apologies for some mediocre photography work!

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Christmas with Alejandra

2015 February 24
by scott

A quick update on Alejandra. I visited her a few days before Christmas with some gifts and food for the family and all is well. She is so much more confident now than when I first met her a few years ago. Her mother and grandmother are doing well too! You can read more about this wonderful, positive family here

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Westfalia Orphanage Christmas Party 2014

2015 February 24

On Saturday December 20, Sonrisasenperu hosted its 5th annual Westfalia Orphanage Christmas Party. It’s a day where the 114 orphans get a chance to feel like regular children and know that people really do care about them. These are the same kids who don’t have individual birthday parties, but have a ‘monthly’ party with all the kids whose birthdays fall in that month. So it was a big deal for them. A huge thanks to everybody who contributed through donations, gifts, food, or their time. It was an amazing day only made possible with help from you guys!

The Christmas party was even better than last year’s party. We had an amazing show with dancers, DJ, singing, dancing, games and prizes, face-painting, and Santa and helpers were handing out the gifts which the kids loved. We even had a magician this year. It was such a special day for the 114 orphans that live at the remote orphanage in Cieneguilla on the outskirts of Lima, Peru.

And of course we had our usual traditional turkey lunch (thanks for the help Sean!). It’s special because the children don’t eat a lot of meat due to a lack of funds, and especially not turkey.

Like every year, each child received two gifts and it was so rewarding to see the looks on their faces as they came up and collected them from Santa and his helpers. These aren’t kids who have bikes, cell phones, playstations, or toys we took for granted growing up so their faces showed how exciting it really was for them.

As well as those who got involved in the gift process I’d like to thank those that came out and spent time with the children. It meant a lot to them to spend such a great day with good people. A big shout out to Mahlon B for generously coming up to take some wonderful photos again this year (they’re the good ones mixed in with my mediocre ones!)

A big thank you to those who have helped us make this event so special. And thank you to all those who have donated funds, food, clothes, and their time over the year to these amazing children. For over 5 years now I have personally seen amazing changes in these children. They all come from terrible situations whether it be abuse, abandonment, from the streets, or simply that their families cannot afford to care for them. They come from all parts of Peru to join this big family. And they continually grow in character from shy and reserved children into loving, confident, caring, empathetic teenagers and adults. And this doesn’t occur simply from dropping off food or clothes but from constant contact and letting them know that people do care about them, and that they are worthwhile. And the children are well aware of the global help they receive and constantly ask about the people and countries that contribute. So thank you for making a difference in the lives of others.

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Sonrisasenperu has some very important projects coming up for 2015 including helping on a HUGE water project which includes building a high capacity water filter and several large water towers to run clean water to every house and building at the orphanage (currently there is only one clean water point in the kitchen). This would put a stop to the use of contaminated river water. The project includes the planting of 100 fruit trees and drip irrigation to provide a self-sustaining food source for the orphanage. We will also be assisting in the upgrade of the childrens’ rundown, 25 year old accommodation. And of course we will continue to provide food and clothing for the 100+ orphans at Westfalia as well as other rural children in need.

If you want to help out you can send a donation or simply spread the word by copying this post onto your facebook or twitter.

Thanks for helping to make a difference!

 

Please enjoy some of the photos from the Christmas party below.

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Westfalia Orphanage Christmas Drive 2014

2014 November 18

5th annual sonrisasenperu.org Christmas party

On Saturday, December 20 we’re hosting our 5th annual Sonrisasenperu Christmas party for 100+ kids of Westfalia Orphanage in Peru. But, as always, we need some help to make it happen.

The kids come from broken, abusive homes, abandonment or their families gave them up because they simply don’t have the money to take care of them. These kids don’t have electronics games, bikes, or televisions. They don’t go to the cinema on a Saturday night or enjoy trips away with family. There are 4 or 5 children per room and there are 12-15 children per ‘house’. They live in an orphanage compound in the mountains of Cieneguilla on the edge of Lima and will be spending Christmas alone, without family. So we want to brighten up their Christmas and help them to experience a happy, loving time.


What’s happening?

We are organising 2 gifts for each of the 100+ children. We’ll also be providing a traditional turkey lunch, snacks, drinks, and dessert. We’re going to have lots of games, competitions, and prizes. There will also be a live show for the kids which includes singing, dancing and of course, Santa handing out the gifts! Oh yeah, and we’ll be providing lots of fun!

… BUT we really need your help!


How can I help?

Donations have helped us provide many things for the orphanage over the years, including a permanent, industrial water filter which cleans river and well-water when the kids were drinking dangerously polluted water which didn’t meet World Health Organisation standards. Your donations helped to renovate one of the childrens’ 24 year old houses to meet new government requirements. You helped fund a new industrial stove to replace a gas-leaking, 22 year old stove as well as a load of new pots and pans. You’ve helped provide all kinds of classes over the years. You’ve helped replace broken windows and provided shoes, clothes, blankets and literally tonnes of food and essential supplies to the orphanage. But we need your help once again.

If you can help out please send us a donation. We need to make sure 100+ children get at least one present, a memorable turkey lunch, snacks, drinks, and games. The orphanage’s food stocks are always low over the Christmas break so we also want to buy food provisions such as rice, beans, potatoes, meat, eggs and milk. If you’ve never donated and been a bit hesitant…now is your chance.

If you’re here in Lima, Peru and want to donate a gift or food, please send us an email (‘Contact Us’ at the top of the page). You can also see the 2013 Sonrisasenperu Christmas party here!

Please post this on your facebook page to help spread the word! Thanks for helping make a difference :)

New water pump – Thank You!!

2014 June 6
by scott

First use of the new water pump! Our new water pump means we can clean water tanks at the orphanage by safely pumping out the water.

It’s also an essential part of our 2014 Clean Water Project. The first job being cleaning the 6 metre-deep well which has been a little contaminated recently. We needed to clean the well using chlorine and then safely empty the well to a location away from agriculture and the children. This was only possible with the new pump!


Our new project will separate this well water from the river water thereby stopping contamination from the dirty river source. This will bring the orphanage water within World Health Organisation safety levels! Thanks to those who donated to make this vital purchase possible!! :)

Sad news – Project Alejandra

2014 May 16
by scott

Sad news from the Sonrisasenperu family. We have been supporting the wonderful but very poor family of Alejandra over the last couple of years. It started with a food donation at Christmas time and some gifts for a poor child but turned into regular help with food and also tuition for Alejandra in an attempt to improve her grades up to the level of other students. Her mother, Aunty and grandmother were illiterate and could not help her with any kind of homework. You can see their story here. As you can see by the photos the family are extremely poor and really struggle. They live on a concrete floor and their “windows” don’t have glass. They don’t even have a bathroom/toilet but need to share a communal bathroom with 3 other families at the back of the housing complex.

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I just discovered an hour ago that the Aunty, Maria, had passed away. Maria had kidney renal failure, and needed dialysis three times a week to drain the body of fluids, toxins, and balance electrolytes, which functioning kidneys would normally do. She had had this condition for over 20 years and needed a kidney transplant. Sadly, her fight ended today. This is Maria in the photo above in yellow. You can see the condition of her right arm from the many years of dialysis to remove her body’s fluids since her kidneys didn’t work.

We would like to help the family with their funeral arrangements and are seeking some help to make this possible. Maria will be buried 4 hours outside of Lima in her home town. If you can help out please send us a donation. It will be much appreciated.

I just got back from visiting the family and the total cost is US$1250 or S/3500 local currency.

 

Lima volunteers needed this Saturday May 10!

2014 May 4
by scott

Hi everyone. for those in LIMA PERU…Are you interested in getting your hands dirty THIS SATURDAY MAY 10 and helping out an orphanage with around 100 amazing kids? It’s a part of a huge water project which will see Westfalia Orphanage water quality rise above World Health Organisation levels, provide year-round, safe water access, update old, faulty pipes, provide the orphanage with a newly government-required fire-hydrant capability, and an orchard complete with 100 fruit trees and drip irrigation! Big!

We’re continuing work started last volunteer day cutting a staircase into the hill where the highest new tank is going to go (see photos above). We need stairs cut into the mountain because that tank will require regular access and it’s pretty risky as is. We’ll also be leveling and preparing an area where the three new domestic water tanks will go. All this work is hard labor with pickaxes and shovels, although we got the super hard stuff out of the way last time.

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Westfalia Orphanage is situated in Cieneguilla which is one of the most natural, beautiful places in Lima, if not Peru so you’ll be working while looking at amazing, huge mountains.
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It’ll be a fun day and you’ll know that you’re directly helping to improve the water conditions for around 100 orphans. I’ll give everyone a tour of the orphanage and you get to meet these great kids. Also, once we complete these water improvements all volunteers will be entitled to as much water as they can drink and carry! :p

playing

Please send me a message as soon as possible to confirm numbers and work out transport. You’re welcome to bring friends too! It will be a great day. Thanks everyone!

Lima volunteers needed this Saturday April 12!

2014 April 9

Hi everyone. for those in LIMA PERU…Are you interested in getting your hands dirty THIS SATURDAY April 12 and helping out an orphanage with around 100 amazing kids? We’re beginning plans for a huge water project which will see Westfalia Orphanage water quality rise above World Health Organisation levels, provide year-round, safe water access, update old, faulty pipes, provide the orphanage with a newly government-required fire-hydrant capability, and an orchard complete with 100 fruit trees and drip irrigation! Big!

So we’re starting now by cutting a staircase into the hill where the highest new tank is going to go (see photos above). We need stairs cut into the mountain because that tank will require regular access and it’s pretty risky as is. We’ll also be leveling and preparing an area where the three new domestic water tanks will go. All this work is hard labor with pickaxes and shovels.  We’re hoping to get up to 20 people to get the job done in one day.

DSC07554 (Medium)

Westfalia Orphanage is situated in Cieneguilla which is one of the most natural, beautiful places in Lima, if not Peru so you’ll be working while looking at amazing, huge mountains.
DSC07548 (Medium)

It’ll be a fun day and you’ll know that you’re directly helping to improve the water conditions for around 100 orphans. I’ll give everyone a tour of the orphanage and you get to meet these great kids. Also, once we complete these water improvements all volunteers will be entitled to as much water as they can drink and carry! :p

playing

Please send me a message as soon as possible to confirm numbers and work out transport. You’re welcome to bring friends too! It will be a great day. Thanks everyone!

Scott