The importance of giving back to local communities is fundamental to our company mission. We also think that It is especially important to help those that are most vulnerable in the community. Therefore, we are pleased to continue supporting our chosen charity in 2019 – Picaflor House. I headed to Picaflor House with our recent clients Rachel and Kevin Howard to see the latest developments at the project.
Funded by the British charity Globalteer, Picoflor House is an after-school project designed to offer a safe haven for local children and to help assist with school homework. Picaflor House also offers an essential lunch program to help improve the nutrition of the children. Located in the small village of Oropesa 45-minutes from Cusco (Peru), Picaflor House has 80 children enrolled in the program. Attendees range from 3 – 11 years old. Local teachers and foreign volunteers (who pay to be at the project) assist children with their homework, along with additional activities such as music and art.
Luz Chapi, Picaflor’s project manager explained “the children that attend the project need assistance with their homework. At school, they are taught by Spanish speaking teachers, yet most of the children come from Quecha speaking families. Many of the children’s parents aren’t fluent in Spanish and struggle to help them complete their homework tasks.”
Luz also told us that the children lack good nutrition, which also impedes the children’s ability to learn. For this reason, Picaflor House also offers a lunch program, feeding an average of 60-children a day. “The meal is basic, yet a nutritious,” explained Luz. It was incredible to find out that with some careful planning that 60 or so meals could be produced every day for around 200 – 250 Soles (USD 60 – 75); a truly amazing feat.
On the day that we visited, it was the last day of school before the start of Semana Santa, so the children had been tasked with some minor gardening activities. As we entered through the gates, we were greeted by a dozen or so children, all shouting “teacher, teacher!” The project receives new volunteers every 1-2 months, so the children simply assume unknown foreigners are new teachers. Rachel was quickly whipped away to the small playground, whilst Kevin and I were quizzed by a handful of inquisitive kids. The explosion of energy that you experience on entering Picaflor House is simply extraordinary. We played a little with the children, met some of the volunteers and discussed with Luz the daily challenges faced in running such a project.
When visiting Picaflor House, I have always been mindful not to interrupt or impede the daily activities, but rather absorb and reflect on the reality of life for these children in Peru. For me making a real difference to a project like this is to offer a significant amount of time (weeks or months) in a structured manner. As for most foreign visitors, time is something that we almost certainly struggle to offer. Considering this, I believe the best way to make a REAL difference is to simply donate money to the charity, allowing the people in charge to funnel the funds where they are most needed and making that difference on your behalf.
As the owner of TLA Travel I am pleased that we are able to offer financial support in 2019 to Picaflor House. I would like to extend my gratitude to my team of dedicated staff and of course all of our clients who make all of this possible. I would also like to personally thank Kevin and Rachel for their generous donation to Picaflor House; a warm engaging couple who define the correct way to be a respectful world traveler.
Travel helps us understand the world and its people around us; it is so vitally important to a bright and peaceful future.
Managing Director and Founder
Totally Latin America S.A.
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