It has always been a life long goal of mine to do a Humanitarian Mission.. I always thought I would go when my kids were older.. but then I realized I wouldn't want to do it without them.
So here we go, my three and I, to try and serve the children of Peru. $12,500 is what we need to fundraise by December 2014. Our dreams are big, and we hope the donations will be too!
Here is a little story regarding the People of Juliaca, whom we will be serving.
"Henrry Ochochoque is a jovial 12-year-old with a report card full of A’s and hopes pointed straight to the moon. Last year, he moved from the squalid gold-mining town of La Rinconada, Peru to the bustling hive of Juliaca, where schools are better, and his widowed mother awaits a brighter future.
Henrry seems to be on his way up.
But statistics tell us he is not. They say Henrry is too small for his age, and indeed he is: 4 foot 2, as tall as an average American 8-year-old. Statistics also say he is undernourished, anemic, with a brain slowed by toxic chemicals and an education that will leave him drastically unprepared for the 21st century.
Even as Peru, races to prosperity, indigenous children like Henrry are being left behind. Why? Because, the growing economy has left a wide gap between haves and have-nots.
Make no mistake: Peru is booming. Visit Lima, and you see a city abuzz with shops, restaurants and a robust new middle class. Visit Cuzco or Machu Picchu, and you cannot help but note the five-star destinations.
But look around more, and you see two Perus. According to the World Bank, a citizen of Lima earns 21 times more than a resident of the outback, where the rural poverty rate is a staggering 54 percent. To make matters worse, it is a starkly racial problem: the poor are the dark-skinned indigenous, the rich, getting richer, are mostly white.
This tale of two nations is all the more vexing if you happen to be Henrry’s age: 78 percent of Peru’s indigenous children live in poverty. A third of all rural children suffer chronic malnutrition. More than 70 percent in the Puno region have anemia before age 3.
Children like Henrry start work as early as 5. If they attend school, they do so for only a few years and in Spanish — not Quechua or Aymara, the languages spoken at home. Caught in a cycle of ignorance, marginalized by nothing so much as geography, they live out the old 19th-century cliché that Peru is a beggar sitting on a bench of gold.
For Henrry, despite his A’s and sunny optimism, the Peruvian boom may as well be on the moon." A summary of an article I read in The New York Times.
More than 10,000 homes live in extreme poverty, meaning that several of their basic needs, e.g. nutrition, clean water, health care etc., are not fulfilled. 85% of these children do not have access to education.
Malnutrition and a complete lack of access to health services are no rarity. Often, parents cannot afford to formalise their work or do not hold the necessary qualifications to obtain formal employment. Their children are caught up in this cycle of poverty, missing out on education as they have to contribute to the family income.
Forced child labour and exploitation endanger children and young people. Despite the Peruvian government’s efforts to eradicate the worst forms of child labour, it remains a massive problem in the area. There are numerous informal agencies that post job adverts in the streets seeking children and adolescents for domestic work or waiting tables. Many parents send their children to work in the hope that they will have a better life. However, the children are usually sent to households in other cities, where they are in danger of losing contact with their families and become vulnerable to exploitation. In the worst cases, young girls are sexually exploited.
So what can we do about it?! Serve. Help. Join Liahona, or donate to our mission and do the following:
From the Liahona site:
"Participants visit a country in which we work for at least nine days. There you will participate in activities designed by the local and Country Coordinators. You will take part in meaningful service projects to both the children served by the Foundation and the community at large. You will assist in nutritional supplement distribution and screening. You may work on our literacy projects or prepare and distribute hygiene and educational kits."
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