All over the world, children are found poor, abused, neglected, and suffering; Cuzco, Peru is no exception to this unfortunate truth.
Melissa Vitti, an intern for GoNOMAD, offers a person important information: Peru is not a place to take interest in just once a year for tourism; there is a lot going on in the country. While Peru may have areas with breathtaking scenery and historical sites of Incan ruins, it also has impoverished children in desperate need of support.
“Many of the children shining shoes and selling cigarettes on the streets of Cuzco are working to support their families before their return home from school. But 35% of these young children cannot balance these heavy responsibilities and are forced to give up school in order to work. In addition, many children are homeless as a result of abuse, neglect and abandonment. With few options, these children are forced to make the streets their home, consuming alcohol and drugs and sniffing glue to satisfy hunger pains, and often prostitute themselves and/or beg to make ends meet.”
Before it was evicted in 2006, some children were able to receive help from Inti Runakunaq Wasin
(IRW), a local non-profit organization. However, since this time the program’s success has been jeopardized. As a result, the kids who were able to replace drugs with nutritious meals and other programs which taught valuable skills such as carpentry, cooking, music, shoe repair and English, are now back on the streets.
It’s a mess of a situation but IRW is not giving up. Working together with the Planeterra Foundation, IRW has been able to raise $30,000 to purchase a permanent location; yet, they are still short $70,000.
If interested, people can do even more than just make financial contributions, they can volunteer in the country. G.A.P Adventures is the organization responsible for Planeterra, and the supporter of projects like IRW.
Through G.A.P Adventures, travelers and donors can apply to volunteer in sites like Cuzco, Honduras, Costa Rica, and South Africa. It’s a great way to get hands on experience working with troubled communities. Every year, G.A.P Adventures help place more than 40,000 travelers eager to make a difference. Travelers should rest assured that G.A.P Adventures is a respectable company and ensures 100% of the donation goes back to the people and supports community development. Plus, any volunteer is sure to leave with unforgettable memories and experiences.
Source: Melissa Vitti GoNOMAD.com