From Peru to Bolivia: ERD’s Visit to South America
Programme manager Michael Hanly traveled to South America to visit several projects and attend the gathering of the Mission Capacity Support Team. Michael first headed to Chimbote, Peru to visit the Reaching for New Horizons school project. This project seeks to improve the educational and psychosocial support services of a state run school in order for children and their families to have better opportunities for future growth and success. State schools in informal settlements and slums in Peru have inadequate funding to provide a quality educational service for their students. Moreover, many of the students have experienced adverse childhood experiences that affect their academic performance and overall wellbeing. With Misean Cara support, the project is providing a valuable service to the students and parents: a psychologist to give direct support to vulnerable students and act in a supporting and training role for teachers; a social worker who runs workshops for parents, visits students’ homes where there are particular needs, and connects them to local and state services; additional English language tuition for 6th class students and art and dance classes to enrich the learning environment for the students. “The Reaching New Horizons project is a vibrant community of dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students. The classrooms are colourful, stimulating, and are well resourced and cared for.”
Michael then traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia to visit the Centro Hermano Manolo. The goal of the Centre is to empower working children and adolescents in La Cancha market and ultimately prevent them working and living on the streets in poverty.
“As a visitor to the Centre, one of the striking things I noticed was the way children feel very welcomed and make their way from room to room, shaking the hand of every person to greet and acknowledge them. This symbolises the intensive, one-to-one holistic service, with a very caring and personal approach. The missionary approach to development is evident: a direct, personal connection is made with vulnerable children, with respect and kindness, starting with self-respect, and working with a community approach, where meals are shared, and the young and shy are encouraged, and made to feel special and included: Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.”
Michael then made his way back to Lima to visit the Fe y Alegría School (meaning “Faith and Joy”) and to attend the gathering of the Mission Capacity Support Team. He received a tour of the Fe y Alegría School and was able to visit their ecology project, which is part of a larger academic and psycho-social support programme funded by Misean Cara. The Mission Capacity Support Team gathering was another rewarding week of collaboration between mission coordinators and partners where trainings were focused on Leadership and Change, Safeguarding and Governance.