Sagrada Familia, April 18 and 19 2016
As I followed Miguel Rodriguez across the dusty concrete in a facility, I watched him greet each child, stooping to hug the littlest ones and laughing with the older ones. Miguel runs Sagrada Familia outside Lima, Peru, supporting 1,200 children between the school and the shelter. Sagrada Familia is a 25 year old organization that TFI has been supporting since 2011 and was my first site visit as a Program Officer.
Going into this program visit, I had heard stories and had some expectation of what it would be like—but I was caught off guard. The operations are huge and while not run with precision, are functional in a way that seems to defy logic. The fact that their tiny kitchen with three women working can manage to prepare nutritious meals for 1,200 children stunned me. They manage to run workshops providing technical education for sewing, baking, woodwork, and music—but continually lack the materials to teach as many students as are interested. And while all aspects of the program are lacking resources, from a lack of schoolbooks to cramped spaces, everything continues to operate. Despite the challenges they are able to provide housing, support, and education to these children.
As we continued to the office, Miguel explained some of these children’s histories—of neglect, of mistreatment, of truly ugly things. Yet, under this support and care, they have moved past these difficult backgrounds and are thriving. The children there were more respectful than I have ever seen, either in the US, in my time in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, or elsewhere in Peru. The children would stop to hug and kiss the cheeks of myself, Miguel, and my interpreter, then continue with their play or walk to class.
The need at Sagrada Familia is huge, and while we have provided a small grant for some much-needed facility improvement, there is always room for more help.
Contact us to donate to help Sagrada Familia, to volunteer at Sagrada Familia through our fellowship, or if you have contacts in Lima who might be able to help support this organization.