Drive in the morning

Today, the volunteers got the chance to officially emerge with the children during their placements. The day began nice and early at 6:45 AM. It takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes to get to our placements depending on the traffic. We took the ocean side view today on our drive over to the district of Chorrillos. The volunteers seemed to really enjoy the drive, even though it was early, there was energy laughter and excitement.

Day care
Marcela, Lynn, Steph, Julia (left to right)

Lynn and Stephanie have been spending their time at the Day care in Pacifico de Villa. Working with children can be exhausting especially if you’re going it ALL DAY. Sure enough, Lynn and Steph were tired by the end of the day but with a huge smile on their face. When asked about their day, Lynn said she was so happy because she got to read to the children today. They had 3 children at the day care today and had an amazing day just bonding and playing with them. These activities included anything from going to the playground to making music to reading books.

View from classroom window at Tupac Amaru II

IMG_1643Our ESL and Hands for Hygiene groups spend some time at Tupac Amaru II school for the first time thisweek. There were many observations made today with the group of children the volunteers worked with. Bottom line was that the children here do not have the same opportunities that children back home have. Therefore, they don’t built up their social skills and confidence until a very late age. Children from 14 years old and younger get to experience leadership opportunities through extra curricular and the children at Tupac seem to lack those opportunities. It is so important to give them the platform to shine and share their opinions. And that is exactly what the Hands for Hygiene is doing in their Club de Salud group.

During ESL, Eva (a volunteer) got to meet all the children who are devoting their vacation time to learn English and be involved in these extra curricular activities. They made family trees, jumped rope, made sentences, and had fun learning new vocabulary and games they can take home with them. It was a great introduction day to get their new teacher Eva a little better. We hope the children come tomorrow with even more excitement and interest.

It makes us all feel very privileged to be here and spend this time with individuals who inspire us.

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-Mansi Parasher

“Students get crafty for a good cause”

Students at Pavillon de la Jeunesse Elementary School in Hamilton are raising money to support the construction of a daycare in the community of Pacifico de Villa, Lima, Peru. Nathalie Pageau is a Grade 5 teacher at the school, and traveled to Peru in August with Solidarity in Action (SIA). When Nathalie returned to the classroom in September, she was eager to share her experience with her students. After learning about Peru and the work Nathalie had done there, the children were eager to help, too. Ever since, they’ve been busy making friendship bracelets to raise money for the expansion of a daycare centre in the shantytown community, Pacifico de Villa. During the August SIA program, participants helped community members to build a retaining wall that will support the planned extension of one of the classroom areas. Solidarity in Action is working directly with the community to execute this and several other sustainability and development projects.

The students at Pavillon de la Jeunesse Elementary will be selling their handmade bracelets at the school’s upcoming Christmas festival. To request your own, send an email to Nathalie at, or

Students at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse Elementary School in Hamilton make bracelets to raise money for the Pacifico de Villa daycare.

A Career Night: The impact that volutneering and charitable work can have on your life.

The excited students started to file into the hall, the parents followed behind, sometimes they lead as the children try to keep pace. There was a nervous excitement in the room. It was Career Night at a local high school in Mississauga. The Applewood Heights Secondary School gym was packed, as industry professionals with their display boards lined the perimeter of the gym. All anxious to share their knowledge and experience with the high school students.

The Career Night event was arranged by Applewood Heights in an attempt to assist students with their career choices. It was a fantastic idea as high school students were able to engage with professionals from a variety of different disciplines, ranging from nursing to civil engineering, the Police force and seemingly everything in between. Solidarity in Action was invited. We were able to share our experiences working in a charity.

Our experience has shown us the role volunteering, or  getting involved in a charity can play an important role in a student’s life. High school students and university students find themselves in an increasingly competitive climate. They compete to enter university, college and the work force. Even once they have successfully graduated from university or college, their employers may still insist that have not accrued enough experience. Students need skills to set them apart from all the other applicants. The skills that one gains from becoming involved in many cases may not be possible in many other forums than a non-profit or a charity.

The student response was overwhelmingly positive.  Excited parents explained that their families were involved in charitable work. They reflected on the excellent developments that their children had undergone as a result of their involvement in charitable work. as students who were presently involved in charitable type work explained that through agreed that they too had built skills that they may not have been able to develop in setting such as a school. They were impressed with the satisfaction they gained.

We often hear about how satisfied people feel when they volunteer and give back. The benefits of volunteering often discuss the emotional response one receives. However, there is a growing interest in demonstrating the skills one can garner from volunteering in the community or internationally. During a recent debrief session for our 2011 volunteers, led by our partners at Wilfrid Laurier University, the focus was on how their experience in Peru or Ecuador helped make them more attractive employees.

Thank you to the Applewood staff and their effective assistants (motivated and talented high school students). It is wonderful to see high schools taking proactive to help their students prepare for their post-secondary experience.

As well, thank you to those who took the time to visit our booth. It was a pleasure for us to meet you. It is wonderful to see such motivated students!

Here are a list of skills we felt we have developed as a result of our work in South America and other charities and non-profits in Canada.

–          Adaptable

–          Develop a strong work ethic

–          Expand your network

–          Make new friends

–          Get on the job experience

This week take some time to reflect on the impact that volunteering, or getting involved a charity  has given to you.

What skills have you developed? How do you find time in your busy schedules to volunteer? Do you want to see your children becoming involved in charitable work? What can we do to help facilitate their experiences?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!