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 Education  Peru Project #21396

Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru

by Globalteer
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Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Free education for 60 deprived children in Peru
Santa Claus visits Picaflor House!
Santa Claus visits Picaflor House!

Christmas party fun and games…

Happy New Year from everyone at Picaflor House! As mentioned in our previous report, at the end of last year, the staff and children of Picaflor House were looking forward to our annual Christmas celebrations. Christmas is an important holiday in Peru however our chocolatada (Christmas party) is the only chance to celebrate for many of the children who attend Picaflor House.

With special guests in attendance, including the man himself, Santa Claus, the children performed traditional dances, Christmas songs and poems, all of which they had been learning throughout December in classes. As well as core academic subjects (maths and literacy), Picaflor House provides the children of Oropesa with arts based subjects, such as traditional dance (an important element of Peruvian culture), music and arts and crafts. Indeed, in arts and crafts lessons (which are taught in English, to promote the use of English language in cross-curricular learning), Christmas decorations for the tree and to be worn on the day of the chocolatada were made with the help and creativity of our amazing volunteers and interim English teacher.

Speaking of English teachers…

At the start of 2018, Picaflor House welcomed a new English teacher into the fold. Diane, from the USA joins the Picaflor House staff team for six months, having taught English to immigrant adults in her home city of Portland, Maine, and as far afield as Morocco, Diane has got stuck into life in Oropesa and Cusco.

We currently have many new children attending Picaflor House for our summer holiday programme, many of whom have never had the opportunity to learn English, certainly not with a native speaker! Being able to speak English in Cusco is an extremely useful and important asset, and so Picaflor House hopes that by providing the children with this opportunity, we will be increasing the children’s chance of future employment and success in further education, should they choose a career or studies that require English.

We are very pleased to be able to report that one of our former pupils, who left Picaflor in March 2017 to attend secondary school, has won a great achievement in English at a regional level. José (not his real name) attended Picaflor House for many years and is a very bright and studious boy who is keen to learn English. As such, José took advantage of the teacher’s instruction in the classroom and advanced well whilst at Picaflor.

José took part in an English competition at his school and won. He then went on to represent his school at regional level, competing against winners from all of the state schools in the Cusco region. We were exceedingly pleased to receive the news from his mother that José won the regional competition, beating all his fellow students. He has since informed us that he was commended on his excellent pronunciation and his mother has been to Picaflor House (where her two younger children still attend) to thank us for providing him with the tools with which to learn English.

We would like to thank our staff, volunteers, supporters, and donors with their help with the English Programme.

A great start to 2018…

January to March in Peru marks the awaited summer vacation time for Peru’s students. In Peru, parents popularly put their children in summer programmes, be it so that they can learn a new skill, improve their sporting prowess or to simply get a boost to their academic skills. It is the latter that draws parents to enrol their children at Picaflor House. By providing academic and extra-curricular activities throughout not only the summer vacation but throughout the whole year, children are able to gain good results at school and get ahead of their classmates before the school year even starts!

Sign up for our summer programme began on the first working day of January and this year it proved to be extremely popular. With 65 children registering to attend from January to March within a week of the sign up period opening, the teachers and management of Picaflor House are thrilled to be able to improve the learning and quality of life of so many children this summer. 

Thank you for reading and of course thank you for your continued, invaluable support. If you would like to donate, and we hope you do, please visit our page to do so!

With best wishes from, Laura, the staff and all the children at Picaflor House.

Wearing Christmas hats with our volunteer!
Wearing Christmas hats with our volunteer!
Some of the smallest children enjoying Christmas!
Some of the smallest children enjoying Christmas!
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Parents learning about Picaflor House
Parents learning about Picaflor House

We have recently reached a special milestone at Picaflor House, and with our 7-year anniversary also right around the corner, we have some exciting plans in store for the rest of this year and into the next and are looking forward to sharing our progress and plans with you…

A Year of Nutritious Lunches

We can hardly believe that it’s been a whole year since we started our Nutritional Lunch Programme at Picaflor House! Since its inception in October 2016, the children of Oropesa have been enjoying a varied, healthy, and filling lunch, Monday to Friday at Picaflor House, thanks to our generous supporters in Singapore. In fact, over the last year we have served approximately 8370 plates of food to 60 children between the ages of 3 and 14!

Not only have we filled a lot of empty stomachs, but we’ve also contributed to the nutritional well-being and learning of these children. Learning on an empty tummy is never fun and staff have seen an improvement in overall attendance at Picaflor House.

In addition to brighter, healthier children, staff at Picaflor have also noticed an increase in attendance and responsible attitudes as children eagerly come to receive lunch and are responsible with keeping their classrooms tidy and plates clean after lunch.

A New Park and Other Plans

We have many plans in store for the coming months and we’re excited to be able to share some with you. We hope that you’ll be able to help us achieve our goals in helping the children of Oropesa gain a well-rounded and better education, whilst enjoying their afternoons with us in a happy and safe environment.

One of the biggest, physical changes soon to come at Picaflor House is the renovation of our play park. The children love playing on the swings, slide and climbing frame before classes start, however we are now faced with the challenge of old equipment that is getting worn down and is breaking. Thanks to the kindness of a friend of Picaflor House in Cusco, we are soon going to be re-doing our park with a brand new, wooden climbing frame (which will be durable to the Cusco elements); new metal climbing frames and the renovation of our swings and see-saws (teeter totters). We can’t wait to see the look on the children’s faces when they see their new play area!

At Picaflor House we like to keep in touch with the wider community and make sure to regularly check in with the children’s parents. Earlier in the year we held an Achievement Day and invited parents to come to Picaflor House for the afternoon where each member of staff shared their children’s work and spoke to them about what progress had been made during the first part of the year. For the end of the year we are planning two activities to celebrate Picaflor House and the children with which we work!

In December, Picaflor House will be celebrating its 7th anniversary; having started with just five children in a classroom at the local school, we are very proud that today to work with 60 children in a space that has five classrooms, a kitchen, an office/store room, and a large, grassy play area. To celebrate the successes of Picaflor House we shall be holding a traditional Peruvian cook-out for the children, their parents, and other friends of Picaflor House.

As always, this Christmas we will be celebrating the holidays with the children and staff of Picaflor House. Christmas is an important holiday in Peru and for many of the children at Picaflor, our party is their only chance to celebrate. With traditional hot chocolate and paneton (a sweet, fruity bread), the children always look forward to this special day!

Thank you for reading and of course thank you for your continued, invaluable support. If you would like to donate, and we hope you do, please visit our page to do so!

Until next time, Laura, the staff and all the children at Picaflor House.

Enjoying Lunch
Enjoying Lunch
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Enjoying lunch after the Mini Mountain Challenge
Enjoying lunch after the Mini Mountain Challenge

There is so much going on at Picaflor House right now, it's hard to pick which highlights to share with you - the people that make it all possible. But we've done our best and hope you enjoy reading about the progress being made by everyone in Oropesa...

A big welcome to our new English Teacher.

This month we are happy to welcome our new English teacher to the big Picaflor House Family. Californian Bradley is replacing Lynn who has left us after a year in which she helped the children make huge steps in English and created a wonderful curriculum for Bradley to pick up and run with! Not only do the children have traditional English lessons but we also try to integrate English language across other subjects too such as art, science and music.

English is a really important skill for young people in the Cusco region as international tourism and hospitality are such important industries here. Employers in many other sectors also look for candidates who can speak a foreign language so we are helping to give our children a head start. English is also a subject where it is hard for parents to help out as many of them speak Quechua as their first language, and only have Spanish as their second language. English is literally alien to them!

Bradley has experience of teaching English in Cusco and in Puno, high up in the Andes on the shores of Lake Titicaca and is ready to work his magic with the enthusiastic kids at Picaflor. He will be with us for at least a year thanks to a grant from the UK based Latin American Travel Association Foundation.

And a big welcome back to Durham University!

In July we were also delighted to welcome nine student volunteers from Durham University in the UK for what was their fourth annual visit to Picaflor House.

As well as undertaking various duties in the classroom, art room, kindergarten and playground, the Durham volunteers worked hard with our local staff on brightening up Picaflor House so that the children have a pleasant environment in which to work and play. This year the work included redecorating the kindergarten class, painting a fabulous mural outside featuring mountains and a lake (inspired by their  trip to Lake Titicaca), and painting lovely flowers along the side of the outside staircase.

But perhaps the biggest hit with the children were the sports workshops run by the Durham volunteers where they coached the kids in football (which obviously needed no introduction, this is South America after all) and in rugby, which none of the children had even heard of! They absolutely loved playing rugby, even if our sports field is a little on the rough side! 

In return, the Picaflor kids taught the Durham students some new moves in our traditional dance classes and to mark the end of their stay with us, the children donned costumes and presented a traditional dance show. Traditional dance is another of the core subjects we teach at Picaflor House as a way of maintaining the local culture and helping the children to feel justifiably proud of their heritage. 

Please visit our parent charity Globalteer's website if you are interested in volunteering at Picaflor House.

The Mini Mountain Challenge

August 3rd was a very special day for everyone at Picaflor House - teachers, volunteers and of course the children! As part of our annual fundraising push we all took part in the first ever Picaflor Mini Mountain Challenge, a sponsored hike and climb in the mountains above Cusco. Of course all the children had to get written permission from their parents to take part, but they were super keen - maybe because the walk ended up at Picaflor Director Jim's children's adventure park where everyone enjoyed playing on the swings, slides and zip lines, as well as tucking into a tasty lunch of "salchipapas"!

For many of the kids it was one of the few occasions they get to leave the village of Oropesa so getting the bus into the "big city" of Cusco where the hike started was a treat in itself!

The hike climbed the side of Huayna Pikol, one of Cusco's most distinctive mountains, and enjoyed some amazing views before descending to the adventure park and a fun time was had by all! So far we have raised just over £500 (about $650) in sponsorship which is a great start, but we'd love to get to £1,000 if we can as that would really help us to meet some of our unavoidable running costs. All donations by UK and US tax payers through GlobalGiving are tax efficient too. To donate just click on the donate link - it's a really quick and efficient way to help our fantastic kids to have the future they deserve!

Thank you for reading and of course thank you for your invaluable support.

Laura, the staff and all the children at Picaflor House.

Our New English Teacher with some of his students
Our New English Teacher with some of his students
All dressed up for traditional dance show
All dressed up for traditional dance show
Durham Uni volunteers decorating the Kindergarten
Durham Uni volunteers decorating the Kindergarten
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One of our brilliant English students
One of our brilliant English students

Once again we are heading right into the peak tourist season in Cusco. Not that the children at Picaflor would notice any difference as their lives are probably as far removed from the hustle and bustle and tourist wealth of Cusco as you could get! But in just a few years’ time, the tourism and hospitality industries will provide many of our children with excellent employment opportunities and we are happy that Cusco attracts so many vistors every year.

This is not to say that some of them won’t become lawyers or doctors or successful businessmen and women – remember Picaflor student Maria who last year won a place at Cusco’s school for gifted children? We know that with the right encouragement and support children’s dreams can come true. Which is what Picaflor House is all about. So in this report we've tried to show you how much can change in a year, and what a difference that will make to our wonderful children's futures.

English Update

There’s no denying how important English is in today’s world - see comments above about tourism - , which is why we are so pleased at the progress our students are making in our new English programme. As one 11 year-old student said,

“I really like English class. We have lots of fun...I really like how with the new English teacher we are learning how to say things that we can use every day, like, Today is……(date), can I go to the bathroom? and how are you? I think it’s important to study English to improve ourselves. It’s good to practice other languages so that we can be professionals one day and travel more and communicate with people from other places. I’d really like to go to the United States someday.”

Our English Coordinator, Lynn, is just as enthusiastic about classes, as she explains:

“I am happy and proud to report that I have seen great improvements in the attitudes and abilities of the students in regards to their English studies. When I arrived at Picaflor House, I was faced with about 25-30 students who were very shy and nervous about taking classes in English with a native speaker unwilling to translate the entire lesson into Spanish.

Although they’d met our numerous English-speaking volunteers before, they had never had classes conducted purely in English and many of them were concerned. I was often asked in the first month to translate what I was teaching into Spanish. They all seemed a bit scared at that they would not understand the majority of what I was saying. However, I persisted in my belief that total immersion is essential and vital when learning a foreign language.”

We think that perseverance has really paid off, as you can see from these recent test results which highlight the progress made by a some of the students who took English tests back in June 2016 and again in early 2017.

  • In Group 3, our oldest students, one boy jumped from 5/20 to 17/20. Another girl in the same group increased from 15/20 to 19/20.
  • In Group 2, one boy improved from 2/20 to 11/20. Another girl’s scores went up from 6/20 to 20/20! One student who recently transferred from Group 1 to Group 2, tested 11/20 last June while in Group 1 and then tested 16/20 after moving to Group 2.
  • In Group 1, one little girl’s scores spiked from 6/20 to 20/20. And a boy in her class increased his score from 3/20 to 17/20.

Lynn continued,

“As well as these results, the children are so much more confident in their abilities and much more focused in classes. They attempt to use English to communicate with me, the volunteers and each other. They genuinely enjoy themselves in class because they feel the sense of accomplishment of having done something difficult.”

Food, glorious Food.

We are also happy to report that feedback on Picaflor’s healthy lunch programme, funded by one of our very generous former volunteers, continues to be really positive. What’s more, now that the children from the most needy families no longer have to rush home for lunch between government school and going to Picaflor House, late arrivals are virtually a thing of the past and attendance numbers have remained at record levels with around 80 children coming to Picaflor every day.

Choi, sponsor of the lunch programme recently paid a visit to Picaflor House. She told us why she wanted to set up the lunch programme and reported back on the positive changes she had seen since her last visit in 2016:

“In 2015 I was conversing with some students one day before classes and had an argument with a student who said he was eight years old but I was convinced he was five, because of his height. A teacher later confirmed that the boy was correct and when I asked why he looked too little for his age, I was told that many students don´t eat lunch every day or if they do, it is merely a potato or some corn. I also learned that many children were being left for several days to a week at a time while their parents go to work somewhere else and they are left to their own devices.

It was in this moment that I decided that something had to be done to fix this situation and ensure that the children were receiving at least one complete meal a day.

I am thrilled to see the changes in Picaflor, many of which are the effects of the lunch programme. I believe that this has allowed Picaflor to accomplish its other objectives, such as providing children a safe environment to play, learn and do their homework as well as providing a nutritious meal for the children.

The attendance has increased a great deal as well. Whereas in past years the teachers would go around the town, asking parents to send their children to Picaflor, now it is the complete opposite. Especially during the registration period, but for weeks afterwards too, parents have been knocking on Picaflor´s door to sign up their sons and daughters."

These are just two examples of how Picaflor House is changing the lives of severely disadvantaged children. And all the while our Spanish, maths, history, geography and art classes - continue to help shape their future. All of this is made possible by kind donors like you. Your donations are not the icing on the cake, they are at the very heart of all our work which simply would not be posisble without you. Thank you from all of us at Picaflor House for your continued support.

Before you go... 

You may recall last year's find rasing camaign for Picaflor House, where donors were entered into a free draw to win a trip to Peru or Cambodia. Well, we're delighted to say that we will be launching this year's big fund raising camapaign very soon so watch this space and your support could win you an amazing trip...

Playing an English Language "Treasure Hunt"
Playing an English Language "Treasure Hunt"
Healthy Lunches help the children to grow!
Healthy Lunches help the children to grow!
Last year's prize draw winners visiting Cambodia
Last year's prize draw winners visiting Cambodia
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Some of our younger students!
Some of our younger students!

It seems a little late to be wishing everyone a happy New Year but we have been so busy at Picaflor House since our last update that time has just run away with itself and we can hardly believe it’s already February.

We are in the height of summer here in Peru which means that it’s the middle of the rainy season and to be honest, not very warm! The rain turns many of Oropesa’s minor streets into rivers of mud and at night the village families have to keep open fires well stoked just to keep their traditional adobe (mud brick) houses warm. Which is why the long term aims of the Picaflor programme are so important and why we are pleased to be reporting on great progress since we last wrote!

English programme Update:

Our wonderful English Language coordinator has somehow managed to find time not only to teach English to the children at Picaflor House but also to put together a really comprehensive English curriculum. It is designed to make learning English more fun and engaging as the more the children enjoy classes the more they will learn.

Currently the children are learning about a different English speaking country each week, increasing their awareness of English speaking culture and geography as well as improving their language skills. All of this will give them a real advantage at school, college and in the work place when they are older.

We are also thrilled to announce that the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) Foundation have very kindly agreed to fund our English programme for at least another six months. This is wonderful news for all the children at Picaflor House so huge thanks to the LATA Foundation for their continued generosity. Our English Language coordinator at Picaflor House explains what a big difference investment in the programme is having on our children:

“In the last six months I have noticed dramatic improvements in our students’ English. They have gone from being nervous or even scared of speaking English to being comfortable and excited to have grasped the new language and are now proud of themselves. Also, comparing test results from last June to this January, there have been significant jumps in grades among many of our children.”

And in other academic news our reading and writing teacher has been busy creating a special work book for the children who find Spanish language challenging. This is especially important for children whose parents’ first language is Quechua (the indigenous Andean language) as often they are unable to help them with Spanish language school work which puts them at a real disadvantage.

We will be able to see how successful this initiative has been when they return to state school in just a few weeks!

Healthy Lunch programme:

You will remember our excitement when we launched our new healthy lunch programme at the end of last year to provide balanced meals to some of the children most in need. With over 60 children on the programme there is still work to be done with the community to ensure that there is a longer term solution to the children’s nutritional needs, but in the short term we are delighted that so many children are now benefitting from wholesome and healthy lunch every day.

The benefits of a healthy diet are not always obvious, and they go way beyond the physical. Poor nutrition can impede cognitive development; hungry children find it difficult to concentrate in class and poor concentration leads to behaviour issue in class too. And finally the knowledge that they will get a good meal at Picaflor House has done wonders for our attendance figures with up to 80 children coming to Picaflor every day now!

Looking Ahead.

As the scope and impact of our work at Picaflor grows, inevitably so do our costs so we are forever grateful for all out generous supporters. Just to give you an idea of how far your donations go, here’s what we estimate some of our expenses will be this coming year:

  • New sports equipment - £65 or US$75
  • Art classes - £150 or US$190 a month
  • Reading and writing classes - £230 or US$280 a month
  • Cleaning and maintenance - £65 or US$75 a month

If you would like to help us cover these essential costs, don’t forget that donations through Global Giving are tax deductible for US tax payers and valid for gift aid if you are a U.K tax payer.

Thank you again and Happy New Year!

Working hard at reading and writing
Working hard at reading and writing
Happy Picaflor students...well, mostly!
Happy Picaflor students...well, mostly!
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Organization Information


Location: Totnes - United Kingdom
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Project Leader:
Stephen Elliott
Totnes, United Kingdom
$34,251 raised of $40,000 goal
424 donations
$5,749 to go
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