Eight things to remember from Solidarity in Action’s year – Year in Review

We have had a great 2014 year!

The year began with the Solidarity in Action community inspiring others through the  Inspire Campaign, and following a few wonderful months in Peru, the year finished off with the 2014 Youth in Action program – Celebration Day. The year featured amazing participants working alongside the local Peruvian partners in youth programs such as Youth in Action, and health promotion initiatives, Hands for Hygiene, while having the opportunity to experience Peru. As we come to the end of the year I find it is helpful to reflect on the year that has been. We have put together a list of eight highlights from a successful 2014 year! We hope that you take the time to reflect on your 2014 year as well. Here are eight highlights from the Solidarity in Action 2014 year:

  1. OUR FOCUS: We offered travelers unique opportunities to work alongside local communities, and local project partners in Peru, while being introduced to Peruvian culture. Participants provided meaningful support to the local community and local organizations in the areas of education and health.
  2. NINETY PARTICIPANTS: This year we welcomed more than 90 travelers (participants) to Peru during the months of February to September. Participants were shown Peru through the eyes of people living in the cities of Lima, and Cuzco, and enjoyed building relationships while working alongside Peruvians in education and health focused placements.
  3. AMAZING PARTICIPANTS: Each participant visited Peru with the goal to support the local projects. During their time with Solidarity in Action,  participants demonstrated care, empathy, flexibility, and creativity. The participants guided health promotion initiatives in a community and school setting, helped children to take responsibility for their own hygiene, and taught English within public and private schools. Participants who supported the Youth in Action (YIA) program, helped to create a stimulating learning environment for children in a community-based after school program. Trained teachers and volunteers, assisted with a locally run childcare centre, and assisted in a school for children with exceptionalities. In addition, MBA students held strategy and business discussions with small-business owners and artisans. Here is a list of 2014 Project Placement positions that the participants performed:
      • Program developer – Youth in Action (Hijos de 28 de Julio)
      • Program assistant – Youth in Action (Hijos de 28 de Julio)
      • Health promotion campaign volunteer – Hands for Hygiene (Colegio Tupac Amaru II & Hijos de 28 de Julio)
      • Health promotion campaign designer – Hands for Hygiene (Colegio Tupac Amaru II)
      • Classroom assistant for children with physical and mental exceptionalities (Laura Alva Saldana)
      • ESL classroom assistant (Inmaculado High School)
      • Daycare staff trainer (Esperanza de los Ninos)
      • Daycare support volunteer (Esperanza de los Ninos)
      • ESL instructor (Colegio Tupac Amaru II, Inmaculado High School & Cristo Rey)
      • Program designer – Meaningful Physical Education (Solidaritas Peru)
      • Program evaluator – Meaningful Physical Education (Solidaritas Peru)
      • Professional development support – Communication strategies for non-verbal students (Laura Alva Saldana)
      • Small-business discussion facilitators – Small-business workshop (Chorrillos)
  4. MAINTAINING PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIPS AND DEVELOPING NEW ONES: This year we worked with seven Peruvian project partners. Project partners include local communities such as Hijos de 28 de Julio, and local schools, such as Cristo Rey. This year we partnered with Solidaritas Peru, a Peruvian NGO.2014 Project Partners:
      • Cristo Rey Public School – Chorrillos, Lima
      • Inmaculado High School – Barranco, Lima
      • Colegio Tupac Amaru II – Chorrillos, Lima
      • Laura Alva Saldana – Barranco, Lima
      • Solidaritas Peru – Chorrillos, Lima
      • Community of Hijos de 28 de Julio – Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima
      • Esperanza de los Ninos – (Community of Pacifico de Villa) Chorrillos, Lima
  5. PERSONAL INTERACTION RATED #1: The highlight for many participants was the interaction with the local Peruvian people, which allowed participants to learn about a different way of life, and gain a new perspective. Many participants learned more about humanity and about themselves. through the interactions with Peruvians, and by listening to others, many participants realized that they had many things in common.
  6. MACHU PICCHU #1 TOURIST HIGHLIGHT: While participants volunteered alongside local Peruvians, the Solidarity in Action program also introduced participants to Peru’s history and geography through visits to important tourist locations. The tourist highlight for many was the visit to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located more than 2,400 metres above sea level, and built in the fifteenth century, it offers the most significant legacy of Inca civilization. Participants enjoyed a one day visit to Machu Picchu, which included a guided tour, and time to participate in a hike, such as the hike to the Sun Gate (Intipunku).Other tourist activities included, horseback riding within the Andes, visiting the Magic Water Circuit (Parque de la Reserva), exploring Historic Downtown Lima (Centro Historico de Lima), and the magnificent churches, such as the Saint Francis Basilica of Lima (Basilica y Covento de San Francisco de Lima) in Lima and the Qurikancha temple in Cuzco.Cultural experiences included:
    • Machu Picchu day trip
    • Historic Downtown Lima
    • Saint Francis Basilica of Lima
    • L’eau Vive Restaurant
    • Barranco district in Lima
    • Incan markets of Cuzco

  7. IMPORTANT ADDITIONS TO THE 2014 PROGRAMS: 2014 Additions to the Solidarity in Action program:We value the contribution that a participant can provide to a local community project partner in Peru. In an attempt to improve the contribution to the local community project partner we implemented two new processes: the primary and secondary placement selection, and co-planning with members of the Solidarity in Action team and the local project partner.The primary and secondary placement selection allowed participants to remain at one placement for the majority of the placement days. The continuity benefited the local project partner and the local participant, as the participant felt comfortable in his or her position, which allowed her to provide a meaningful contribution to the local partner.Co-project planning ensured that the participants, the local project partner and Solidarity in Action staff planned together whenever possible. Co-planning allowed the planning members to share their ideas openly with one another. As a result, each member had a clearer understanding of what to expect during the activity, and what role they must perform. Co-planning helped to overcome the language barrier between Spanish and English speakers.
  8. PLACEMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Solidaritas Peru – Meaningful Physical Education Program (Chorrillos, Lima)

Participants from Western University worked alongside Solidaritas Peru to conduct workshops in three different schools for more than 300 elementary students. Western students completed an evaluation for each game that they led, and provided a program curriculum that Solidaritas Peru could utilize to implement the program into future school programs.

Youth in Action – A community-based after school program (Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima)

Solidarity in Action participants supported the program from Monday to Friday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Participants and Youth in Action staff led outdoor activities, and other values based activities. The themes included self esteem, teamwork, community, Peruvian history, geography, and respect.  The program received fifteen to twenty children each day, and was praised by the Hijos de 28 de Julio community leaders.

Esperanza de los Ninos – A community-based daycare program (Chorrillos, Lima)

Esperanza de los Ninos daycare program was started by Liliana Bernal and Julia Guillen, former staff members of the Solidarity in Action daycare pilot project (August 2013 to December 2013). The program began with two children in March 2014. Solidarity in Action participants assisted Liliana and Julia, and a Canadian kindergarten teacher provided pedagogy support, and offered teaching strategies and activities that Liliana and Julia could utilize with the children. The program has grown to receive more than ten children a day. Needing to make important structural improvements to the daycare, Solidarity in Action helped Liliana and Julia to host a garage sale. The proceeds of the garage sale were used to install a new floor, replace damaged roof tiles, and upgrade the electrical system and wiring.

Hands for Hygiene – Club de Salud(Chorrillos, Lima)

Solidarity in Action partnered with Tupac Amaru II school, a high school located in Chorrillos, to increase the students’ health and hygiene awareness. Solidarity in Action participants led class presentations to demonstrate the importance of hand washing. and developed a student-run health club, Club de Salud. Solidarity in Action participants led activities to reinforce health, hygiene and to teach leadership skills. The students continue to meet on a weekly basis, and in December the Tupac Amaru II students led classroom demonstrations for their peers to instill the importance of dental hygiene.

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PLANS FOR 2015!

The programs for the 2015 year have been posted on our website. Check out the amazing opportunities through the Solidarity in Action 2015 Programs Opportunities 2015, and discover meaningful travel and experience meaningful connections!

We thank you all for the interest and support that you have shown to Solidarity in Action, as we continue to support local projects, and introduce travelers to meaningful travel and the people of Peru.

Wishing you a successful 2015 year!

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-Larry Shuttleworth

Solidarity in Action provides unique travel opportunities for individuals, while meeting the local needs in education and health in Peru. Follow, like and comment on our blog to find out about how you can experience meaningful travel in Peru, and to see how Peruvians and North Americans are working together to create sustainable development solutions in Peru. 

New experiences!

With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Today was full of excitement and new experiences! Who doesn’t love that…

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Retreat house

The day started with an orientation to introduce our new participants to the program and the values of SIA. During this orientation, we familiarized each other with some activities that activated our brain and got us talking about topics we don’t necessarily think about on a daily basis. We spoke about our skills, our favourite people, new experiences, and shared our stories.IMG_1609

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A view of the community

It was a positive start to a very positive day and it was all possible to the Peru D group. They got to sit down with the community members in the local community centre and just “chat” about their lives. A community leader went through and asked each participant (in spanish) their names and a question about themselves. It was really nice to see the participants retain the spanish and try to respond in spanish. The translator stepped in to make the communication crisp but there were many laughs and stories shared.

Today was all about contentment. We spoke about contentment at the end of the day by completing these two sentences: “I noticed that…” Some of the answers shared were about happiness and how they felt a connection with the people they met today because everything had a warm feeling to it. “I noticed that they took pride in every little thing.” It is very true that their hard work through out their community is very visible! You can see it in the way they interact with us, with each other,  and their attitude towards meeting new volunteers.

The following week we will be experiencing a LOT of the culture with the Peru’s Independence day right around the corner on, July 28th! The volunteers are excited to have the opportunity to be here on such a day.

Well tomorrow is a new day full of other new experiences!

Hasta Luego!

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-Mansi Parasher

 

Transition then keep moving forward!

It was during the last day at the community when Troy (a peru C volunteer) was speaking in front of the community leaders, “Youth in action” children and the other Canadian volunteers that made a lot of us shed a tear. He spoke about hiIMG_1493s week long experience working in the community with Youth in Action. The comfort the children gave him, the support he saw, the love he felt, all of it was summed up by his well written speech for the farewell ceremony. The children didn’t seem to want to let IMG_1499go of him when we were saying goodbye. The children loved all the Youth in Action volunteers as they created such a beautiful and educational environment for them to be in. They spent days planning their YIA programs, making sure core values were taught to these children about love and respect.10526009_10101189575513128_1488055161521007827_n It is the transition that happens beautifully from one group to another. Peru C got to meet with the Manitoba group as the Manitoba group was easing into being here and starting their projects.IMG_1529 The ESL program had gotten a fresh new start of its 6-week program and right now we officially have around 40 consistent children who attend our after school program and are eager to learn english every day for an hour. The ESL teachers from Peru C had a chance to sit with the new manitoba group ESL teachers to talk to them about the classes, the challenges, the lessons, the environment and just tips/tricks over all.IMG_1539 The children have also been involved with SIA after school in the “Club de Salud” initiative. This club allows them to come togetIMG_1549her as a group and speak about the important issues of hygiene with their peers. This club is meant to built leadership skills in the students so they can move forward and make better decisions for themselves and the community they are from.100_1622 Club de Salud did a presentation yesterday for the “Dia del Logro” (day of success), parents, teachers and, government officials all came to the school where different classrooms were set up for different demonstrations of the children’s excellence. Club de Salud did a demonstration of their own on the importance of hygiene and hand washing. IMG_1584 Different stations were set up for the visitors to see and the best part was that it was all run by the students themselves! Birdie is the project leader for Hands for hygiene, and with the help of the manitoba group volunteers has been able to put this club together for the chiIMG_1582ldren to speak up and gain this confidence. It was amazing to see their excitement when explaining to a teacher about the state of potatoes when exposed to different bacterias. Different potatoes were set up in different bags after being exposed to various platforms and bacteria. It was left to grow for 4 days and seeing the results was shocking!

All the programs have been running with great success, no matter what the challenges are, all our volunteers come together and make beautiful memories. This is visible by the excitement and attachment the children have with our volunteers.

Keep updated by following our facebook page at : http://www.facebook.com/solidarityinactioninc.

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-Mansi Parasher

Peru C

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At the airport making their way to Peru!
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Monday morning orientation!

It is really interesting to see how Peru C has been interacting with the programs, the children, and with each other. Everyone is doing their best to fulfill their roles in each placement. The Hands for Hygiene groups did their first in-class presentation today. This took long planning, skit preparation and lots of communication! Their goal was to introduce the students to the new Champions program Hands for Hygiene is implementing in the school (Tupac amaru II). This champions program will allow the students to be directly involved in the Hands for Hygiene program to help raise awareness about health with their peers. It is so important for children to be involved in such after-school programs. It helps them gain confidence in themselves, step outside of their comfort zone and allow them to try new things but most of all, be in an environment that encourages personal growth.

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Eager teacher 😀

The ESL group taught their first class of the NEW 6-week program today! All the children gathered in the big auditorium where they were awaiting to find out who their Canadian teacher with me. Our volunteers fit right in while making the children feel comfortable during their classes. Today, we focused on getting the children settled into their new ESL classrooms, having introductions and talking a little about ourselves. The children enjoyed the games, and laughing along while the volunteers were saying their names in a “funny accent” during attendance. This week will set the stage for the next 6 weeks of volunteers who will participate in this ESL program and enrich it with their variety of knowledge.

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Chain tag!

The YOUTH IN ACTION (I capitalized that because YIA is so full of energy) group has been at the community in this chilly weather for full days making sure the children receive the best 2 hour after-school experience. They have been practicing their animal poses, and bonding with the volunteering. Today, they were taught about balancing life, making those tough decisions and being responsible. Sometimes we are so caught up in having fun that we forget about the 10370426_10101188434095538_3465606312051951992_nimportant things in life. Imagine kids as young as 6 years old being engaged a lesson like this, it is absolutely amazing what the volunteers have been able to accomplish.

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-Mansi Parasher

LIFE

Today, was education. Today, I learned about someones life and how to save a life.

We went to Tupac Amaru II school for our ESL classes but prior to that we had a meeting with a lovely individual who was willing to tell us about the history of the IMG_1062place we call our precious little garden of education. It was awesome to hear about the developments within the community but the hardships people faced to get where they are today are the rips in the timeline that make it imperfect in a beautiful way.

Imagine for a second, leaving your lovely home, moving far away to a place with no attraction, just wooden houses and sand…lots of sand and rocks. 40 years later, as she reminisced about her life, she shared with joy all that she has seen. I enjoyed the perk in her voice when she spoke about Tupac, a voice with pride. A community that fought for their rights to have electricity, water and sewage.

Imagine for a second, having to walk 20 blocks to go get water for things like laundry, and everyday use. Her children helped her through this process and well, it was normal for them. As she spoke about the issue of water, she got emotional explaining “it reminds me of a very sad time.” Tupac Amaru II is in a much better place right now, and with the help of people like this woman, it will only get better.

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Lilliana and Julia are the two amazing women who work day and night to make sure the children at their day care are happy and healthy. Sometimes keeping people healthy is a tough job in case of emergencies. James Nyugen, an extended volunteer and a paramedic by profession gave them a 3 hour course on different situations they might face while with children or with people in general.

They went over scenarios where someone might be choking on their food, what to do if the person is too tall, too short, in a wheelchair, or is too big. They even went on what to do if a person has stopped breathing after choking!IMG_1077

James did an excellent job at explaining every single detail to these ladies, and they were so interested in learning that they tried these procedures with each other!IMG_1075        Everyone should know the basics on saving lives because you never know when you might end up in a situation where you are the only one to give someone a second chance.

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Teaching Julia how to properly handle a choking baby

Another scenario they practiced was if the baby is choking, which can be really difficult and hard to handle. It was so amazing to see James handle everything with such care and precision. Julia and Lilliana asked many questions because in their line of work they’ve dealt with everything from fevers, falling and crying babies. Luckily they have never had a situation until today where the child had to be rushed to the hospital. But none the less, they left the office, way more educated on this subject than they came in with.

Don’t you just love learning!?

I will post a video on the entire workshop soon because our fellow viewers, and SIA believers, also can benefit from this information.

-Mansi Parasher