How It All Started
Welcome to Sonrisasenperu.org! My name is Scott Jeppesen and I am the founder of the organisation.
Sonrisas en Peru (or Smiles in Peru in Spanish) was created to bring assistance to the rural poor in Peru, particularly in the area of schooling which, sadly, receives little or no funding from the government. This is achieved through donations, receiving care packages of books, writing supplies, clothes and other resources, as well as internet sales of traditional Peruvian goods such as tapestry, art and clothing which are both a source of income to support our various projects as well as finacially supporting the local people that produce these goods.
In 2007 i decided I wanted to do volunteer work and after a lot of research i chose Peru, a country of 30 million people where 54% live below the poverty line, and almost half of those in extreme poverty. I volunteered at a school in Cusco, south-eastern Peru, and was soon exposed to a rural school 30 minutes outside the city, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range in a poor village called Huerta. This rural school, like so many in Peru, was not supported by the government. We ran out of writing materials and stationery twice in 6 weeks. My sister sent over a package of books, pencils, erasers, etc. for the school and a few weeks later my friend Matty B organised his work colleagues and sent over a large box full of all kinds of school materials, books and clothes.
Seeing the extreme poverty in rural Peru, the vast differences between the education we take for granted in the west and the inadequate education the children here receive, coupled with the realisation that one person with a little help from his friends can make a difference, I started dreaming of change.
I moved to New York with the dream of returning to Peru to continue to help the impoverished rural children and improve their chances of receiving an education. I worked and saved for 18 months driven by a dream to create an organisation focused on providing help to small projects so often overlooked by large organisations. I wanted to provide a direct link between people in the west wanting to make a difference and those people so in need here but unable to be seen or heard.
And now, here I am in Peru and my dream has taken shape! There is still, as always, much work to do but this website is a great communicator for the change I have witnessed and hope to continue to witness. Sonrisas en Peru identifies projects in need of assistance and works toward supplying the resources necessary to accommodate this positive change…with your help.
Thank you for your visit here, and please share this site with as many people as possible.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.