One of THE BEST Grassroots NGOs in Development…
A fantastic opportunity to share with you one of the most amazing, holistic, organised and effective development organisations I have ever seen and heard of – Peru’s Challenge (http://www.peruschallenge.com/)
Jane and Selvy are the founders and day-in night-in workers of this organisation. They truly bring the best of both developing and developed worlds together. They combine the enthusiasm and human power of volunteers from developed countries with the needs and wishes of developing rural communities near Cusco in Peru.
I was fortunate to lead a group of 17 university students from Macquarie University to participate in their volunteer program. The first morning of the 4 week program we visited a community that had benefited from the services of past volunteers over a number of years. The school was vibrant, the kids clean and happy and the facilities you would expect for a decent education. We then visited the community we were to work in for the month down the valley and up. We were met by a beautiful community but fewer resources, more malnourished kids and a lack of livelihoods for the people.
This match making of those with and those without is not about rich people helping the poor but learning about how they can be empowered to empower themselves – the best form of development possible. Peru’s Challenge consults with the local community, the government and local professionals to outline the most important and effective ways volunteers can assist.
For the 18 of us our objectives were a talleres building, so women in the community had a space to make handicrafts to sell (and feel empowered and important members of the community); to teach English, sport, art and dance at the school; implement a health and hygiene program for the kids in the community; and home visits with individual households who have the greatest needs in the community – like the household with a girl who has epilepsy.
Our work was simple and not replacing the work of community members but having 18 sets of willing and eager hands can fast forward their hopes of having access to basic needs in their community.
Again it is always the case that the volunteers usually benefit more from the experience but in this case Peru’s Challenge makes sure it is with a fantastic model for development and that they see the capacity of the local people and how simple resources and human power can make a huge difference. Through their inspiration they also make sure all volunteers who pass through their programs carry the legacy of important and effective development when they return back to the country of abundance and opportunity to share with others there.
Do yourself a huge favour and get the best taste of what development is all about and read up on Peru’s Challenge on the web and facebook or even better experience the best possible exchange of lives, culture and giving by volunteering with them in the beautiful surroundings of Cusco in Peru! And if you live in a bit of time poverty and can’t do either of those you can donate knowing your money will not be lost in corruption, nepotism or useless ways – http://www.peruschallenge.com/?q=Donate
Thank you Jane and Selvy and keep changing the world all for the better – lovely to share time with you both, now and certainly in the future…