On top of studying in Cusco, Peru, I’ve been participating in Service-Learning. I spend some time at a privately owned, non-profit organization that provides support to children coming from vulnerable populations of low economic status. The program offers these children access to food, education and health care. So far, my time has been incredible, mainly due to the individuals making it run on a daily basis. The organization was founded by one woman, now the director and my supervisor; her love for the children is truly inspiring. Every morning she greets each child with a hug and “hola mi amor, como estas?” She tells me daily how beautiful the children are, and how much she cares for them. You can see it is genuine as the children love equally so. Their daily lessons consist of art, music, and English and are provided with breakfast, mid-morning snack, and lunch every day. Because of my supervisor, the children are welcomed with open arms and have a support system where they can escape the hardships of their home life.
I have learned so much from working these people. As individuals, we sometimes forget that we can make a huge difference if we set our mind to it. This vibrant beneficial organization began because one person saw a problem and decided she wanted to make a difference. My supervisor told me the story of how she started the program, and it really is amazing. Having never struggled with hunger, she was moved by a woman walking down the street with 3 children, all in bad shape. It was that sight that inspired her to create this organization. It started in the back of a church with only 12 children who came for breakfast. Through dedication and hard work, it grew into the organization it is today. She expressed how difficult it was, always being afraid she wouldn’t have enough money to help the children, but she didn’t give up! With only 34 children, may seem small compared to all of the children in Peru who need help, but it has changed the lives of these few. As the organization grows, they hope to continue to reach out to more children.
If there is one lesson that I want to pass on, it is that the smallest impacts all come together to make a large change. The Earth wasn’t created in a day and its problems won’t be solved in a day either, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t all try a little harder. Thanks to ISA Service-Learning, I have been introduced to incredible individuals, and their drive and determination to make a positive change is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
The world awaits…discover it.