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
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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Food, glorious food! Healthy lunches for all!
Food, glorious food! Healthy lunches for all!

Dear supporters

Following on from Picaflor's new healthy snack programme we are really excited to announce that we have recently launched our full-on healthy lunch programme.

Every day more than 50 children are now receiving a balanced and nutritious lunch at Picaflor House which is benefiting both the children and the community.

By working closely with the families we had quickly realised that many children were not receiving a balanced diet and in particular were not getting a regular intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. This can have serious long term effects on physical and cognitive development and unfortunately many of the families we work with could not afford to provide the variety of foodstuffs that we take for granted in "first world" countries.

In addition to this, many of the children had to walk long distances after finishing state school at lunch time in order to get home for lunch, and then walk equally long distances to get back to Picaflor House in time for classes. This had resulted in some children’s attendance falling simply because they were too tired, or too late to get back to Picaflor House.

The introduction of the lunch programme not only means that the children get a really good meal at lunch times, but they can come straight from school to Picaflor House and be ready for classes which start straight after lunch.

Already daily attendance figures have improved. Previously, on a really bad day there could sometimes be as few as 15 children at Picaflor, but now we have over 50 children every day of the week.

Project Manager Laura said,

“This is such a good programme that helps us to achieve so many of our objectives. The children are well fed, attendance at Picaflor is up and we have also recruited two of the mothers who were previously out of work to do the cooking - It’s a truly holistic solution!”

English update

With such brilliant attendance figures the impact of our new English teaching programme promises to give even more of our children some really valuable help in English language learning. Lynn, our newly appointed English programme coordinator has settled in well and the children love her lessons.

Lynn’s contract runs out in February and we would dearly love to keep her on for another year, but along with all the other essential running costs at Picaflor House, it means that we need to raise just over £3000/$4000 to be able to do this.

So, if you would like to help us cover all our running costs next year, please consider making a donation this Christmas – a one-off gift or a monthly donation will make a huge difference to the children of Picafor House that will last well beyond Christmas.

Christmas bonus for our American supporters.

If you are one of our US donors, and you are considering making a donation, you will be pleased to here that this year your Christmas gifts could go even further! On Giving Tuesday – 29th November – any donation through up to $1,000 could get a 50% boost from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation! Donations can be made from 00:00:01 on Tuesday 29th November. There is a limited bonus fund so please donate early to be in with the best chance of getting that 50% bonus. Please note that gift cards and check donations are not valid for the 50% bonus

And if you set up a recurring monthly donation before December 31st, Global giving will add double your monthly donation when your fourth payment goes in.

And a Christmas bonus for our UK supporters!

Christmas gifts go further in the UK too! If you donate anything up to £600 through between November 29th and December 31st, it could also be boosted by 50% thanks to Global Giving.  There is a limited bonus fund so please donate as soon after 00:00:01 on Tuesday 29th November to be in with the best chance of getting that 50% bonus.

We know 2016 has been a tough year so we are extremely grateful for everyeone's support and would like to send a huge thank you from everyone at Picaflor House – with your support we have achieved a great deal and with your help we can continue to do so throughout 2017.

Feliz Navidad!

We hope English Teacher Lynn can stay for a while!
We hope English Teacher Lynn can stay for a while!
Looking forward to a sparkling Christmas :o)
Looking forward to a sparkling Christmas :o)
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Enjoying a trip to the dinosaur park
Enjoying a trip to the dinosaur park

We are so excited to be bringing you even more good news from Oropesa, but before we start, we want to say thank you to all of you, our supporters and donors everywhere, for making our work possible and giving the fantastic children of Picaflor House the chance of a better future. So, what have we been up to? Read on to find out:

Our new English Language programme is gathering pace!

Last week we were thrilled to start the next phase of our English language programme with the arrival of Lynn Puzzo our new English language coordinator. Lynn hails from Connecticut in the USA and has more than eight years experience teaching English as a foreign language in Korea, Argentina and Mexico. Lynn will be with us for six months working alongside full-time teacher Luz, making sure that the Picaflor children get the best out of our fantastic new English teaching materials. Improved English language skills will really give our students an advantage in school and in years to come when they are looking for jobs, especially since tourism is such an important industry in the Cusco area.

Picaflor House welcomes some very special visitors

August and September have seen Picaflor House welcome two lovely groups of volunteer supporters from the UK. A group of students and teachers from Pipers Corner Girls School in Buckinghamshire were first to arrive on a two week visit. Students from the school had worked for several months before their trip preparing activities to share with the children of Picaflor both inside and outside the classroom. They also helped our staff to take the children on local excursions up to a nearby mountainside church and to the local dinosaur-themed park.

One of the highlights was definitely the final day when our students wowed us all with their performance of dances that the Pipers Corner girls had taught them. Traditional Andean dance is one of our children's favourite non-academic subjects so it was wonderful to see them learn dances from another culture too.

We were also delighted to receive our third annual visit from students of Durham University and as ever were blown away by their enthusiasm and willingness to get their hands dirty for us! Amongst some of their amazing achievements this year were painting a beautiful new mural on one of the playground walls, remodelling our much-loved (and over-used) sand-pit and moving our office to a new location to make way for another exciting new initiative that we have in the pipeline! Watch this space…

We are extremely grateful to both groups. Not only for the hours of work they put in but also for the amazing fund raising they have done for Picaflor House.

If you are interested in finding out more about fully-managed volunteering trips to Picaflor House then please contact our parent charity Globalteer who organises visits for both individuals and groups.

Someone is going to win a trip to Peru or Cambodia very soon!

Our 2016 fundraising campaign has been going great guns since its launch on June 1st and has so far generated almost £9,000 (US$12,000) in new donations which is just awesome. Anyone who has donated £15 or US$21 or more since June 1st stands the chance to win a trip for two to Peru or Cambodia and the final date for entries is now confirmed as September 30th! So please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to donate - you could even increase your own chances of winning by making another donation! Just donate £15 or US$21 through Global Giving and you could be packing your suitcases and setting off on a trip to visit Picaflor House! Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Next time we hope to be bringing you exciting news about our new initiative – the one that has meant having to move our office - and of course news of who has won that trip!

From everyone at Picaflor House, thank you for your continued support  

Dressed for traditional dancing
Dressed for traditional dancing
Our visitors from Pipers Corner
Our visitors from Pipers Corner
Our students dance in the village
Our students dance in the village
Durham University perfecting their new mural
Durham University perfecting their new mural
Enjoying a hike above the village
Enjoying a hike above the village
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Our new English programme is ready!
Our new English programme is ready!

Hola from Oropesa!

It has been a really busy few weeks but the hard work and all your support is really paying off and we've got lots of good news to report - Here is just some of it!

Our New English Programme is starting to take shape

We wrote last month about the exciting news of our grant from the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) Foundation to overhaul Picaflor’s English teaching programme. Well this month, we are delighted to be able to report on the progress we’ve already made:

Firstly, we assessed our students’ level of English to make sure that we were investing in the right level of books. Next, we went on the hunt and managed to find a local bookstore in Cusco that stocked all the English books we needed – up until now we had only been able to find the books online which would have meant a delay and extra delivery costs to us!  And finally, as we were buying in bulk we managed to negotiate a very generous discount.

This would be great news any day of the week but we are also thankful to LATA who agreed to allow us to spend the savings on additional classroom materials and recruiting an assistant to help our teacher Luz implement the new programme!

So, if you know anyone with solid teaching experience or someone with good Spanish who wants to break into teaching – then please point them in our direction! Full details of the role can be found here. We are very excited about how much this new programme is going to help our kids get a step up on the education ladder!

Overwhelmed by fundraising!

For the last few weeks friends and staff of Picaflor House have been going to some extraordinary lengths to raise money to help cover our running costs. Here in Peru our team of Laura, Chris, Becca, Candice and Melissa undertook 24 crazy challenges in 24 hours including bungee jumping, hiking up mountains to watch both sunrise and sunset and sampling some of the more acquired delights of Peruvian cuisine such as sheep’s head broth, pickled snake and chicken’s feet salad!

In the UK a team of long-term supporters took part in a 50 mile walk to raise money for Picaflor and back in Peru, Picaflor’s founders Jim Elliott and his wife Camila have just started a 20km in 20 days swimathon along with their two young children.

Between us the campaign has already raised over £5,000/$7,000 and donations are still coming in every day!

Two more really great reasons to make a donation to Picaflor House.

If anyone is thinking about making a new donation to Picaflor House there are two really good reasons to go for it!

  1. For every donation of £15 or $21 you will be given free entry into a draw to win a trip for two to Peru or Cambodia! The draw will take place when we reach our target number of entries and there is a maximum of 1,000 entries allowed. We already have over 400… full Ts and Cs can be found here.
  2. If you donate through Global Giving on Bonus day, your donation could be boosted by 50% as the kind folk at Global Giving will be matching donations to Picaflor House until the bonus pot runs out. All you need to do is donate to Picaflor House through the or websites between 09:00 and 23:59 EST on Wednesday June 15th (that’s between 14:00 on June 15th and 04:59 on June 16th in the UK.)   

Please feel free to let your friends know about these two great opportunities too.

In the pipeline...

We have lots of exciting plans and ideas at Picaflor and once we have all our regular costs covered we can focus on improving and expanding what Picaflor House offers even further. Building on the success of the healthy snack programme which was funded by Choi, a very generous former volunteer, we are now looking at the possibility of providing lunch for the children at Picaflor House.

Not only would this mean that the children receive a healthy and balanced meal at lunch time, it would also mean they don’t need to walk home after state school for lunch and then back into Oropesa for lessons at Picaflor. This would make life much easier for the kids and greatly reduce the risk of their being late and missing lessons! We’ll let you know how plans are going so watch this space...

On behalf of the children and staff at Picaflor, Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to bringing you more good news next month!

Chris bungee jumping for Picaflor!
Chris bungee jumping for Picaflor!
Uk supporters nearing the end of their walk
Uk supporters nearing the end of their walk
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Organization Information


Location: Totnes - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Stephen Elliott
Totnes, United Kingdom
$59,737 raised of $65,000 goal
603 donations
$5,263 to go
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