Witness and Support a True Model Community in Peru

by Daniel  Salazar, Global Volunteers Peru Country Manager and Team Leader

Come to Lima and be inspired!  Come and make a real difference!  Come help children in Peru. You have an exceptional opportunity to learn about and contribute to a true model of compassionate leadership and effective community action in my country. “The Community” is Comunidad de Niños Sagrada Familia, an institution sheltering 1,200 children, from 1 month to 17 years, who come from especially difficult circumstances. The Community cares for and protects children at risk, and gives them a solid education and Christian formation in values that allow them to live in this society as virtuous citizens who contribute to the community and help others.  Children are brought by judicial order, by the police, by the municipality’s child protective services, and by families who can attest to the urgent need of the children.

Videos used with permission from The Forgotten International.

Operating for nearly 30 years in the district of Ventanilla, Callao, Sagrada Familia functions as a small village for children. Besides the facilities one would expect to see at a children’s home (dormitories, dining halls, sports courts, etc.), it has a school (Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, High School), a trade school (bakery, carpentry, music and sewing), production centers, and a health clinic.

Over the years, the children who have been served are now successfully inserted into society. Most of them still support The Community in any way they can, which shows how thankful they are for the good care they received. In fact, one of the most surprising things when one first arrives is seeing so many children coming and saying hi to “Profesor Miguel” with great affection, and him calling each of them by name and giving back the same warmth.

“At the end of the 1980s, the youngest of my children, Juan Miguel, arrived in the world, charged like every child with the illusions of seeing what we adults call society, but unfortunately he was born with a heart problem that brought him closer to Jesus very early, at six months, and he left us a mark and his presence alive among us, his smile and desire to live loving others.”

– Miguel Rodriguez, founder and director of Comunidad de Niños Sagrada Familia

 

On-Site Profit Centers Fund Community Services to Help Children in Peru

The teenagers who study at the trade school work at the production centers in the fields they’ve learned. These production centers then sell their products, and the income is used to fund The Community. For instance, the bakery produces some of the pastries that the KFC restaurants sell. The Community’s health clinic “Madre Coraje” (mother courage) is open to the public, and has specialists in obstetrics, dentistry, psychology, pharmacy, as well as general medicine. This clinic has its own two-story building with about 12 different rooms.

They also have a house for social reintegration, for minors who grow up over time and must join society, in better conditions. In this house there are about 15 teenagers 17 to 19 years old who continue with their studies and/or work outside the community.

Besides the income from the production centers, Sagrada Familia can survive thanks to the donations in kind of various companies who want to help the children. For instance, they receive vegetables from a supermarket. The Community invites volunteers from all over the world to support them with their time and skills. They have their own translators, planned tours of Lima, and even a “Volunteer Bible,” a document with general rules and information about The Community to help volunteers feel at home. 

Videos used with permission from The Forgotten International.

Volunteer-Centered Projects Supply Needed Skills and Energy

Miguel  believes that volunteers, regardless of their background, should be able to help children in the ways they are willing and able to share. He wants volunteers to try out various activities and work projects on the first day to determine where their contributions will make the biggest difference. While the students are taught English at school, it’s only at  a very basic level. Miguel would like volunteers to teach English at all levels.  Volunteers with skills in baking, carpentry, music, and sewing can contribute to instruction at the trade school and production centers.

Miguel also welcomes medical professionals to help at the clinic – either helping the children of the community or people from the surrounding shanty towns. Any medical service that volunteers can provide is welcomed.

Of course, painting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and general building maintenance and repair is always needed.  The Peruvian weather takes its toll on our buildings, and so there is so much to be done all year around. No special skills are needed to help out in this way.

Volunteer helping care for children at the Day Care in Sagrada Familia.

|Click Here to go to the Global Volunteer Peru Service Program Webpage for Details.|

 

On Sundays, volunteers are welcome to join  The Community’s church service.  On the final day of the program, they usually have a small ceremony to thank volunteers for their work, and present traditional music and dancing. Miguel really loves volunteers to experience and enjoy the Peruvian culture as it truly is.

Please join us soon!  This is truly an exceptional opportunity to help children in Peru while really learning about how a community, working together, can make a difference.

Pledge to Help Children in Peru at Comunidad de Niños Sagrada Familia.

Let us know below if this program interests and inspires you, and one of our volunteer experts can help you get started.

Request a program catalog here or by calling 800-487-1074.







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