10 Years of Responsible Volunteering: What has the Peru Community Project achieved?

Globalteer's Jim Elliott and wife Camila first opened the doors to Picaflor House, our Peru Community Project, in 2010. It started out as a small project in a spare classroom in the village school where a handful of children were allowed to play and learn after school hours. The project provided a safe environment for children to play and learn away from the dangers of the streets and the stresses of the outside world. 

The project is now in its very own building and has, amongst other facilities, a playground, computer room, garden, kindergarten and art room and has 60 children on the register. We asked Project Manager Laura Hoskins to tell us about some of the project's achievements to date:

It's all about Education
I am very excited about the impact that it has on not only the lives of the children who attend but the village as a whole. Education is generally very weak in rural Peru, and with the help of Picaflor House, the children are able to achieve more at school, lead healthier lives, and learn skills that others in their community and similar communities are unable to do.

For example, one of our students, Maria*, has recently gained a place at a free school for gifted children. Her parents have both praised Picaflor House for their help with Maria’s education and told me that without Picaflor’s help that she wouldn’t have got into the school.

Many parents are unable to help the children at Picaflor with their homework because the school system is exclusively in Spanish, and lots of parents only read and write Quechua, one of the indigenous languages of Peru. So at Picaflor we help out where the parents can’t and this helps enormously with the children’s school performance. As one of our seven year-old students recently told us,

“I like the classes especially art and English. I also get lots of homework help at Picaflor House which helps me improve my grades in school”

Health & Hygiene

Health and hygiene standards in rural, Andean Peru are very poor. Picaflor House provides the children with regular hygiene classes and teaches good hygiene, hand washing and brushing of teeth. Furthermore, the children’s poor nutrition is something that Picaflor House is working to address. With the implementation of our healthy snack programme, the children now receive a piece of fruit every day and we also have installed a clean drinking water tap. Unfortunately children don't always get clean drinking water at home but we try to convince parents too.

Taking days of school sick have a serious impact on our children’s education – especially when they are starting from a position of disadvantage anyway, so good health is vital for their education. 

Our Future Plans

The future also holds lots of exciting things for Picaflor House. In the second half of 2016, we will be implementing two new programmes. One of which (English Language Programme) is already on the way. Thanks to a recent grant from LATA, Picaflor House had been able to buy new teaching and learning materials and will be hiring a new English Language Programme Coordinator to revamp English teaching at Picaflor.

English teaching in state schools in Peru is atrocious. With English being such an important language in Cusco (thanks to tourism), if the next generations of workers want to achieve good, well-paying jobs, then not being able to speak English is not an option. 

Secondly, Picaflor House is looking to start a Lunch Programme, with the view of providing a subsidised or free lunch to all the children at Picaflor House. According to our surveys carried out with the children’s families, very few of them eat a well-balanced meal, three times a day. As such, we hope to reverse this by providing them with a nutritious lunch, which will in turn help to improve their health, physical development and their school attendance.
How volunteers make a difference

Volunteers are extremely important to Picaflor House. Aside from financial support, volunteers provide our local staff with a much needed extra pair of hands in classroom. In English, art, kindergarten and other areas, volunteers’ help is greatly appreciated and the children enjoy interacting with adults from other countries and cultures. Volunteering at Picaflor House is certainly a learning experience for both the children and volunteers.

Read more about the Peru Community Project
Apply to volunteer with the Peru Community Project

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