In 2009, TFI traveled to Peru and, while there, discovered that one of the leading problems in Peru is domestic violence and its consequential relationship to poverty, for as women attempt to leave abusive relationships with their children they often give up their only source of income. Another major problem in Peru is the plight of children living in the streets. These include those escaping abusive homes or those who have families too poor to care for them. Here are two programs that are trying to make a difference.
La Comunidad de Niños Sagrada Familia
Source: Sagrada Familia
Source: George Rosenfeld
Begun over 30 years ago in Ventanilla, Peru by Miguel Rodriguez, Sagrada Familia has blossomed. Starting as a safe place for street children to sleep, Sagrada Familia grew into a large school, orphanage, and medical clinic, and then, with the introduction of vocational workshops, most children began to find jobs upon graduation. Miguel came to this mission after experiencing a family tragedy and now puts his energy into providing love and care to all the children coming into this community. Alumni of Sagrada Familia are now working as successful teachers, lawyers, and other professionals. With now over 1,000 children at the school, TFI has been extremely impressed by the scale of Sagrada’s work. Perhaps most impressive is the personal attention the Sagrada staff give to all the children. In 2012, with the assistance of VIDA Peru and generous donors, including BNP Paribas Bank, TFI provided the children of Sagrada Familia with many grants over the years to help so many of these needy children.
Hogar de la Esperanza “Mama Victoria”
Source: Mama Victoria
Source: Mama Victoria
Nelly Villegas, a remarkable woman who lifted herself out of poverty, established this organization in 2007. It is called Mama Victoria and works toward housing women that are escaping domestic violence. In 2010, TFI was introduced to Nelly and the Mama Victoria team and have continually been impressed by their work. As part of Mama Victoria’s mission, they provide a safe place for women while educating their children. Their education program has been funded through the production and sales of gourmet chocolates, tamales, painted pottery, and eggs. Of course, it is never enough so this is an organization, like TFI, that must help, particularly in countries like Peru which has seldom sought to help women facing domestic violence.
For future TFI Fellows, Mama Victoria is one of the agencies selected for fellowship placements. Diligently, former fellows have worked on youth education and organizational capacity-building projects.