Foundation 'To Be A Child' lets children, be children again
Since the very beginning, we have supported the nuns who started shelter Los Pinos in 2003. The Dutch donations we collected and the volunteers we sent their way, enabled them to take in some 20 children at time, whom they cared for with a lot of dedication and love. Together we gave them clothing, a warm bed to sleep in, daily meals, an education and a range of other facilities, including health care, sports, extra tutoring for those who had missed an education in their early years, and a range of leisurely activities, including swimming lessons and holiday outings.
Many children were able to return home, to their poor or sick parents after just a few weeks or months of this emergency care, but for many others that was impossible. For the first group of 21 children who could not return home and spent most of their youth in Los Pinos, our Dutch charity has vowed to assist them until they are adults and can live independently. We have come to know and love these kids and we do all we can to set them up for a better future.
With our Study Fund, which we initiated in 2008, we financially support all young adults who have left the children's shelter to help put them through university or vocational education.
Our help consists out of guidance in choosing a study, finding where to live, signing up for a study, general study guidance and funding a part of the study costs. We stimulate them to find a part-time job to contribute to their studies themselves and we teach them general social and professional skills.
Some of them came to work with us at soup kitchen The Big Table in Huaraz, next to the children's shelter.
The students who have finished their studies (or who have found work and are now able to fund their own studies), are capable of helping their own families now, which is great to see. We have broken the cycle of poverty for those families.
Currently, we still support a handful of students, which costs about a 1,000 euros per student each year and is fully funded by some generous Dutch sponsors, with whom they exchange updates each month.
Two of our students have completed the theory part of their studies in 2015 and it was the highlight of our year to see the photos of their graduation ceremony. Another two young ladies have become mothers and had to put their studies on hold for a while to look after their babies, but both have resumed their studies in 2016. We are helping one of them to start her own business, with her partner, and the other has returned to working in our soup kitchen. This way she can help fund her study and help other children at the same time.