This month’s Spotlight on Service features the Peru Club, an Upper School club that, for the past five years, has engaged students in making a difference to children in need in Peru. Advised by Mrs. Aguais and Mr. Garcia and led by seniors Francisco, Camila, and Felipe, the Peru Club has kicked off the new school year with some fantastic initiatives.
Here, we learn more about their important service and the mission of the Peru Club.
The Peru Club’s mission is to support children’s education in rural areas of Peru and to raise awareness about this issue. We do this through three charities: Casa del Águila, Avanzamos Creciendo, and Valle Sagrado Project. We raise funds for these institutions who, in turn, assist students in situ.
Casa del Águila is a non-governmental organization, run by a community, dedicated to the care and education of children from newborn to 18 years of age who are in situations of abandonment, neglect, and vulnerable situations. Avanzamos Creciendo is a non-governmental organization that focuses on the health, nutrition, and education of children living in the Amazon. The Valle Sagrado Project is a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing housing, educational, and psychological support to girls living far from school, enabling them to attend school.
What kinds of volunteer work did you do with these charities on past service trips to Peru?
The Peru Club and the Peru Trip are separate activities, and their participants may be part of one or both. The Peru Trip is a cultural experience and a service to the community. We have taken students to Peru on three occasions, in 2015, 2016, and 2018. When we stay at the orphanage, we offer our friendship, we learn from them, and we share some skills. In the past, we have taught foreign languages like Mandarin, Italian, German, French, English, and some sports like rugby and badminton, as well as origami craft. In turn, they have taught us Quechua (their indigenous language), how to play the zampoña, how to make bracelets from cotton thread, and how to weave. We have also provided new trainers, toys, school supplies, and medicine. We help students with homework and chores.
Are you planning to restart the service trips once it is safe to do so in light of the pandemic?
Of course we are! Our first trip took place in 2015, and we hope to have many more. In addition, when we go, we are able to deliver the Peru Club donations in person to each organization. That in itself is very rewarding. We will begin to promote the trip to Peru as soon as the restrictions for that country are lifted and we are able to safely travel abroad.
Your Walk for a Cause in September was a great success! Can you tell us more about this event?
Walk for a Cause is an activity that the Peru Club has been doing for three years. It consists of a one-hour morning walk that students and staff of TASIS do in homage to the girls of the Sacred Valley project, who have to walk for hours and in adverse weather conditions in order to attend school. A donation of £1 is made by each participant. This walk takes place along the Monks Walk, near the church next to TASIS, and ends in the village of Chertsey. This year, there were 52 participants and, thanks to their donations, we raised £214.
What fundraisers and events do the Peru Club have planned next?
During November and December, the club will sell popcorn and soda every week on Mondays, and in January and February, we will sell hot chocolate. We are planning our own carnival with the Inca Colour Run to take place in February. Also, our leaders and members continue to suggest activities for the rest of the year.
This year, the Peru Club has its largest membership yet of 50 students. We are delighted that the student enthusiasm for the club has extended to the parent community, who have donated and supported our initiatives, for which we are very grateful.