Stichting Wees Kind is just a small charity organisation, of 4 Dutch people and about 10 Peruvian people who together manage 4 projects. However, it wasn't always like this. For years we managed 4 soup kitchens, a volunteering & language course project, a children's shelter for 21 children and a study project at the same time. All this with on average just 15 Dutch volunteers, who also had full-time jobs or their own business and, in many cases, a family to look after. Assisted by only a handful of hard-working women in Peru, this small team made miracles happen...
Our current projects reeceive funding from our loyal sponspors, business, organisation and individuals who know that their money reaches the children who need it most. Since it became hard to find new sponsors and volunteers during the Global Financial Crisis, we have had to let some projects go.
Our past projects are:
Soup kitchen Monterrey:
This soup kitchen is located in a convent in the town of Monterrey, near Huaraz. In Monterrey, some 100 children, parents and pregnant woman are served a healthy meal on a daily basis.
By supporting this soup kitchen financially for 8 years, from 2004 through to 2012, we have helped the nuns who run this project to make a big difference in the lives of hundres of children and their parents. Our Dutch volunteers who helped out in this project have had a unique experience in this well-organised soup kitchen as well.
We eventually had to withdraw from this project due to the lack of volunteers and funding from the Netherlands. That means the nuns of the convent are in charge again of finding the donations to continue this important work and, luckily, they are doing great! Now we can put all our energy and means into the two soup kitchens in Huaraz.
Soup kitchen La Gran Olla ("The Big Pan") in Ichoca:
In this soup kitchen on the terrain of a a small mountain town located just above the city of Huaraz, about 40 children were given a healthy warm meal on a daily basis. By offering financial and material support for this soup kitchen for 7 years, we have saved many children from this small community from malnutrition and from living in extreme poverty.
A very important motivation to support this soup kitchen was that the children only attended school if they would receive a substantial meal during school hours. The sad truth was that without this basic incentive, they would have to help their parents out on the land or in the house, to tend to animals, harvest crops or walk all the way down the mountain to the markets, to sell their wares.
Once this situation became clear to us, we poured all our energy into providing nutrition and educational activities for these children, who had had very little chance to learn to read and write and play with other kids so far. And indeedn, as soon as the soup kitchen was up and running, many children started to attend school on a daily basis.
Besides food we offered activities, organised yearly Christmas and birthday parties and also provided health care and dental care. The results were clearly noticable and also measurable: the children were suddenly of a healthy weight for their age and were growing, both physcially and mentally.
In 2012 the soup kitchen in Ichoca was merged with soup kitchen The Big Table. A decline in donor income from the Netherlands and volunteer interest, meant that this project had become unsustainable. The persistent lack of local initiative by the parents and school director to make this project less dependent from Dutch sponsor money was a contributing factor as well. The children who previously received their daily meal during school hours, are still welcome after school hours in our Soup Kitchen La Gran Mesa in Los Pinos, which is located a half-hour walk lower down the mountain.
We have offered all of those children who finished high school, and were about to leave the children's shelter, vocational advice and psychological support to prepare them for a life outside of the convent. According to the rules of the convent, all kids have to leave the children's shelter when they finish high school usually around 18 years old. However, it wasn't possible for many of these teenage girls to return home, either because it wasn't safe for them to do so or their parents were too poor to create a quiet space for them to study and sleep. To prevent that they would end up living in extreme poverty or even on the streets again, we decided to start a Study Fund for them.
From 2007 onwards, we sponsored part of their education and have offered those who couldn't return to their families a place to live and study. The first three students lived with host families and from 2011 onwards they could stay in our former volunteer house in Huaraz, where a tutor lived in with them to guide them through their first years of university.
The study house closed when the first group of students was reunited with their families again or, in one case, old enough to live in a rental flat independently. Because of the help they received, first in the Children's Shelter and later in the Study House, they are now educated, independent and go-getting women who are able to find a good job, raise a family and make the right choices in life.
While the Study Project continues until this day and several young women have already graduated and are doing well on their own, we lack the funding and staff to reopen the Study House.