Sponsor Marja who helps abandoned and neglected children.

For: Marja Wildschut
Callao Region, Peru
Organizer: Volunteers' Help - Marc van der Meer
Sponsor Marja who helps abandoned and neglected children. (Marja Wildschut)
€801 goal
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The Story

For as long as I can remember, I have been wanting to make a change in the world. I am Marja Wildschut, 23 years old and born in the Netherlands.

I will tell a little about myself first before talking about the institution I am going to volunteer in. After finishing high school, I started studying International Business Administration, but figured out after one year that it was not the study for me, instead, I changed to International Relations. This study has given me not only knowledge about the world out there, but also gave me the opportunity to study in South Africa for a semester. After completing this study, I started a master in Peace and Development Work in Sweden.

The reason for choosing this study has a lot to do with the development project I have done in Ghana, together with 29 people from my community. Our goal was to build three classrooms, but that was not the only aspect that changed. The way of living of the local people and the interaction between us, Dutch people, and the local community has been very valuable to all of us. This definitely opened my eyes and made me realize that there is so much more outside the Netherlands. After this, I helped with a summer camp for children living in the townships in Port Alfred, South Africa. And also when studying in South Africa, I have visited the local orphanage a few times. All these experiences showed me that living conditions and cultures are different everywhere in the world, which makes that everyone is different and that you should respect everyone as they are.

The children I met in Africa had already stolen my heart and I was more than ready to let this happen again, but this time in another continent. This brings me to the volunteering work that is about to start; the Santa Martha Foundation in Lima, Peru. This is an institution that permanently houses 72 minors that have been neglected, abandoned or at physical or emotional risk. I have specifically chosen this institution, as they help children from 10 months to 18 years old, which makes it more diverse. Another reason for choosing this, is that it is led by locals. The tasks I will be doing here, are also very diverse; getting the children ready for school, take them to school, providing workshops for the teenagers, tutoring, and all other things that are part of the everyday life of the children. I will be volunteering here for five weeks, starting this Saturday, the 14th of October and ending on the 25th of November.

When growing up, I came to see that the change I can make in the world should be found in the small things in life. If I can make a change in the life of one child in the house in Peru, the mission has already been accomplished. Nevertheless, I would like to make a bigger change in the world and hope that my Master’s is a good stepping stone to help more people worldwide.

On this website, I will keep you updated on the life in the institution for the next five weeks with pictures and stories, so that you can be part of this experience. And maybe even experience it yourself in the future. I am very excited for this journey to start and I hope you are too.

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The non-profit initiative Volunteers' Help sponsors volunteers who help other people in need and reimburse travel and accommodation costs. We do the crowdfunding for people like Marja, who paid her flight of 801€ to Lima her selves. The donations will land in Marja's pocket directly. In case we collect more as planned, we will sponsor other volunteers, who also want to help others abroad. Please help Marja and donate. Every drop in the ocean counts.

If you want to know more about our initiative or you are interested in volunteering as well and want to make use the service of Volunteer's Help, please check:

Web: www.volunteershelp.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/volunteershelp

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 1, 2017

Posted on November 1, 2017

The organization I am volunteering in, is called the Santa Martha Foundation.

This organization has a house, Villa Martha, to receive and protect the poorest children in the neighborhood that have problems in the family or are at socio-economic risk. In this house, there are 5 different groups of children, Cuna, which houses the youngest children until about two years. The second group is Celeste, which houses children up from 2 years up until about 5 years. Verde, which houses children between about 5 and 7 years. And then there's Niños grande y Niñas grande, which are the children, boys and girls respectively, between 8 and 18. More information about this institution can be found at: www.fundacionsantamartha.org/eng.

The group I work at, is Niñas grande, where 18 children live, 13 permanent and 5 of them go home in the weekends. In total, there are about 70 children living in this house. But next to the children, there are also tutors and "mamas" living here, because also at night, someone has to take care of the kids. The "mama" in my group lives here for 5 days and then goes home for 2, after which another 5 days follow, etc. This is therefore equal to a 120-hour workweek!!

Enough about the institution, the daily schedule of this group is the other subject of this post!

The girls wake up at 5:30 AM, do their cleaning tasks until 6:00, when they have to take a (freezing cold) shower and get ready for breakfast, which is served at 7:00. All the children (70) are together when eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. At 8:00, it is time to get the girls to school, after which the "quiet" moments start, because almost all the children in the house are at school. I do however, use this time to help prepare lunch and dinner in the kitchen. The children finish school at 12:50, when we get them from school. After this they change their school uniforms for "normal" clothes, and go for lunch. After lunch, at 13:15, some cleaning has to be done and homework has to be made before the academic workshops start at 3:30 PM, these are extra classes organized by the institution, depending on their level. This finishes at 5, after which they have an hour to finish their homework or enjoy their free time. At 6, they take another shower and get ready for dinner at 7. After dinner, there is again some cleaning and then they go to bed, because the next day also starts at 5:30 AM. There is however always time for a bedtime story, which both them and I really enjoy, as they ask me again every night.

This is only the daily schedule of the weekdays, because in the weekends, it is filled with a bit more cleaning, but most of all, a lot more free time. I have only been here for one weekend though, but the past weekend, there was a speaker outside the building and everybody danced. The Sunday was mostly filled with playing in- and outside. Inside the house, they play with all their dolls or play a game, and outside, there's a slide, some swings and a soccer field.

This really reminds me of my childhood, playing outside or with dolls rather than inside playing video games. It however really does not look like most of the Dutch children of today, as those are much more ‘online’. The children are happy though, which shows that children really don’t need iPads and stuff to be happy! Even though sometimes it is nice to play with an iPad for a change, see the result below ;)  Furthermore, the children are the cutest; they call me señorita and greet me all day long :) But, as most children, they have their moments of not being so cute, let’s leave it to that 😜

Posted on November 1, 2017

Posted on November 1, 2017

The first week has already passed, but it still feels like I only arrived yesterday! Let's start with the first day though. All these blog posts have a certain delay, as I don't have constant access to internet, only when I go to the internet cafe, but I don't go there daily, so it is what it is :)

I finally arrived in Lima at 5:00 AM, after 16 hours of traveling, and, except the credit card issues I had, the travel was perfect, because it started with the most amazing sunset ever! Só much can already be said about this first day. First of all, when there’s a 7 hour difference between the countries, you will definitely mess up your biological clock and stuff.. However, I try to follow the schedule I’m supposed to follow the next 5 weeks, but this means I can only sleep at 4 o’clock at night... Anyways, that’s not the most important part that happened, but it does influence it, because this made the day feel like eternity. 

Another thing is that it kind of feels like I already really bonded with the kids. The sad thing is however that they ask you directly when you’re leaving, cause they said; "I’m really gonna like you and then you’re leaving again. Will you stay longer or come back?" The other side is however that, with all the volunteers, they will all get some extra attention, which they really deserve. On the first evening, I read a book with three of the girls, just like a mom would/should do. And I think they did really appreciate it, at least I did. And they still ask for it every evening, so I guess they do too. However, enough about this one day, let's talk about what I do here and about our daily schedule in the next post.

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