Time for Christmas Campaign 2013: Part I: PreparationsNovember 20, 2013
Yo Siembro Sonrisas - Campaña Navideña 2013
Native of Peru has held the Yo Siembro Sonrisas campaign every December for 3 years. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the good-hearted citizens of Huaral, more than 2,000 under-privileged children from 4 different shanty towns can experience the warmth and caring of the Christmas season. The main objective of the campaign is to collect donations (clothes, toys, school equipment, and money) and create small packages which are given to the children Christmas Eve.
"What is a shanty town?" you might ask.
It's a type of informal neighborhood where inhabitants have no legal standing, ownership, or permission for the land they occupy. They are usually established on the peripherals of cities and lack basic resources including electricity, proper sanitation, and a clean water supply.
Just have a look at one by the name of Sacachispa where Native of Peru provides much needed support throughout year.
From the time I arrived in Huaral preparations were already in constant motion and progress. This year Native of Peru endeavors to collect not only donations, but also to sow feelings of citizenship and adherence, responsibility and kinship to the community amongst youngsters from the secondary schools. They hope this will inspire them to become real creators of their society as well as show them the meaning and value of voluntary service.
To that end, the last 2 weeks of my work equaled 8h of daily walking from school to school, asking for donations and simultaneously looking for older teenagers from Huaral who might be willing to contribute to the social development of other individuals as well as the community as a whole.
Honestly, it was a hard experience. Primarily, because I really know what it means to be around 16-year-old males. With diminishing patience and being aware of the differences in cultures and customs between my Polish reality and the lifestyle here, it was with great dedication that I strove not to show signs of my irritation at the various nicknames and whistling of my local pupils.
Nevertheless, what should also be mentioned is the great difference in the attitude of professors and the general states of the facilities when comparing national and private schools. The latter are much more sophisticated and, of course, more expensive. Generally speaking, the quality of the educators and the resulting education is much higher when you're able to pay.
After the enrollment process we conducted at the schools it was time for non-formal education. The organization's main goal was to set up 3 workshops for volunteers of the Christmas Campaign to both instill in them the meaning and goals of the event as well as voluntary service in general.
I am pleased to announce that the first preparations and reunion are behind us!
Almost 50 participants took part in the meeting. We played ice-breaking games, explained the main objectives of our NGO and discussed and discovered the world of voluntary service together. Here are some photos from the event.
What is more, it was very personally fulfilling as the first project I've been able to manage from start to finish.
When I first started working with Native of Peru, one of the first projects I was asked to be involved with was the creation of posters and brochures for the Christmas campaign. What do you think? I've had fun creating them, that's for sure!
While I was working at the office, Aroa Carmona (a Spanish volunteer responsible for local and national communication) was collecting data about educational institutions as well as SMEs registered in Huaral. These later assisted us in the logistics sphere for the project. However, this also means that next week we need to begin phase two, where we start canvassing the city to find companies willing to cooperate with Native of Peru and our projects.
Anyone could ask why we can't simply do that via e-mail. The answer is also simple - nobody does basic communication that way here! The only solution is to go face-to-face to convince prosperous business partners of the idea of involvment and cooperation... I feel another brainstorming session on the horizon...