Tierra y Ser – Building Schools in Peru

Blog entry created by: Teresa

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One of the people we met is Erica Shaffer Cuculiza, who has such a bright, energetic, and generous personality.

We were very impressed with her work as Director of Tierra y Ser, a non-profit in Peru.  It’s mission is to provide the necessary tools to improve the quality of life, education and environment of the at risk Peruvian families in a sustainable way.  Along with many other projects, they have constructed/renovated several schools in poor areas and have helped to create education programs that are effective and sustainable.

I told Erika about our new non-profit and she was excited for us to volunteer at one of the schools.  It would be wonderful to raise enough money to help make another school possible!  At the very least, we would like to donate some useful items to the existing schools while we are there.  Here are some before and after pictures of one of their schools.

BEFORE:

Peru - original school - outside view

original school - outside view

classroom with leaky roof and loose sand floor

classroom with leaky roof and loose sand floor

Peru - playground area

playground area

not very conducive to good play

three students lean out of their classroom window

three students lean out of their classroom window

Peru - one substandard bathroom hundreds of students

one substandard bathroom hundreds of students

Peru - town where the students live

Peru - town where the students live

AFTER:

Welcome to the new school!

proud and happy!

Peru - new classroom

new classroom with a roof, walls, windows, floor, desks and learning materials!!

more classrooms

more classrooms

Peru - more classrooms

more classrooms

Peru - new courtyard for playing and special events

new courtyard for playing and special events

Peru - opening celebration in the courtyard

opening of the new school celebration in the courtyard

Peru - new bathrooms!

new bathrooms!

...and places to wash

...and places to wash

Peru - Christmas parade - families made costumes out of things that would have been trash

Christmas parade - families made costumes out of things that would have been trash

Peru - Christmas parade

everyone can afford a recycled costume

Peru - Christmas parade

one of the three wisemen

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The students are definitely enjoying their new school facilities.  Now they have much better places to learn and play as well as better learning materials.  The teachers have learned better ways to teach and now have the supplies and materials they need.

However, what seems to be most impactful is the boost in self-esteem in both the teachers and the students.  They are touched and inspired that people would care about them enough to provide a school that is not only functional, but beautiful.  The school has programs and community celebrations that are appropriate for the resources of the community (for example, the parade called for costumes made of things they have access to – not costumes they could never afford).

Parents have rallied around the school, and as you can see from the costumes, put a lot of time and effort into the school projects.  The school has become a place where the whole community can get involved and provides a place for people to gather, talk, celebrate, and plan the future…which suddenly seems much brighter and full of possibility!

Many of the students told the managers and donors of Tierra y Ser, “You changed my life!”…but what Erika tells us is, “They changed mine.”

Tierra y Ser has completed many other projects that build stronger communities in Peru and help lift people out of poverty through education, elder care, improved housing, and better heath care. They welcome volunteers to help with many things including teaching in their schools.

I am looking forward to helping with this great organization and I hope you will consider helping us provide them with resources to help them do another project that will make a difference in people’s lives and give them the tools they need to build better futures themselves.  Soon we will have a section of the website up where you can make tax deductible donations – and one of our Trustees has already agreed to match them – so you will be able to double your impact!

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Posted on: February 13, 2010 | Categories: Peru, Tierra y Ser, Why We Are Doing This

 


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