Name: Hogares Libertad
Location: Calle Huayrurupata (5 minutes walk from ProPeru office)
Director: Pastor Sergio Allauca
Hogares Libertad is a non-profit organization that provides homes for children in Peru. Although in Cusco they mostly work with children, they also have programs for teenagers and adults.
Most of the children that live in the home are orphans, and many were living on the street in desperate situations before coming to live with Hogares Libertad. The home provides the children with shelter, meals and education. They also have an innovative program to try to teach the children some useful and practical skills to help them in the future, and create an income for the home. This program revolves around workshops where the children make a wide range of products, from Christmas cards and jewelry, to ponchos and woven materials. These workshops not only give the children a practical education, but can also help the home become self-supporting, and the children achieve a life of dignity.
Hogares Libertad also offers an outreach program. They travel to an area where there are children in need, brining them food, setting up soup kitchens, and bringing them clothes and other necessities. The home also works with adults, offering a rehabilitation program for drug-addicts and alcoholics.
Pastor Allauca has worked with many volunteers in the past, and is extremely welcoming to the help and support they can bring the home. Volunteers are encouraged to find their own niche within the wide range of services the home offers, working with ProPeru to set up a schedule that will utilize their own abilities and skills to best effect. This could be working in the business and workshop side of things, or could be working with the young children. Most importantly any participating volunteer has to be enthusiastic and passionate about working for such a great organization.
Name of Volunteer: Elspeth Montgomery
Project Name/Placement: Hogares de Libertad
Dates of Project Placement: 6/06 - 8/06
Names of Counterparts at Project: Julia (orphanage director)
Please provide a brief description of what your organization does, and what a typical day is:
Hogares de Libertad is an orphanage that provides basic needs and support for youth without parents from Cuzco and the surrounding rural areas. During a typical day the kids wake up early and start with homework, then they move on to chores and playtime. They also spend time with a psychologist each day and a tutor for homework.
Please provide a brief description of your role within the organization and a timeline of your activities there:
I started an art class and presented different projects everyday. Sometimes the projects were short term, taking a day or 2, while other times the projects were long terms taking a week or longer to complete. The art projects were inexpensive leaving us a lot of money to spend at the end of the month on shoes, clothing, food, and other basic needs.
What was surprising to you at the start of your internship?
Although I was warned not to look at the orphanage through “U.S. eyes” I found it more difficult to do in practice. I found the conditions to be stunning in the beginning and had a difficult time dealing with what I was seeing.
What aspects of your project did you find enjoyable?
I loved working with the kids on the various projects we completed. Sometimes we played soccer as well, which they loved. What I enjoyed most was watching them be creative and excited when they completed something they were proud of.
Did you feel your project had enough structure?
My project didn’t have too much structure, which I found to be more helpful than hurtful. Because my project was a bunch of short-term projects as opposed to 1 long-term project I liked having the flexibility instead of more structure. I assume this opinion depends on the type of project completed at this placement.
Did you feel involved in your organization and that your presence there was valued?
I felt my presence was highly valued at my organization. I was treated lovingly and respectfully by everyone on staff at the orphanage as well as all of the children. It was great to see their faces and smiles when I arrived and it was very difficult to leave at the end. I think about them many times a day and wonder how things are going there at this point in time. I would highly suggest allowing other volunteers to help and to be able to gain all that I have gained from this placement. I felt less like a volunteer and more like a family member during my time at Hogares de Libertad.