As a current social work and development intern, I have had and continue to have opportunities to interface with the girls - Peruvian Hearts beneficiaries - first-hand on a daily basis. I hold a Masters in Social Work, but wear many hats in my role here. I run groups with them, meet with a hand full of them on an individual basis, assist in their English class, am an in-apartment Chinese teacher, and occasionally hang out with them in their home towns. The growth, strength, determination, passion, thirst for knowledge, and quirkiness of each girl are telling and inspiring. They are the face and driving force of the organization. These girls are not victims, but persons who have overcome significant challenges to not just survive, but to thrive. And Peruvian Hearts has, in their own words, played a significant role in altering the trajectories of their lives.
With a professional background as well in program development, I've had the pleasure of working closely with Peruvian Hearts' staff, both in Peru and in Colorado, in the strategic planning of the organization's expansion. I am particularly impressed by their humility, accessibility, and open-mindedness. I've continuously sensed the sincerity they have for benefiting the girls in the program. Furthermore, an element to empowerment work that I personally find necessary is advocacy on a larger scale. As the organization takes steps to expand, this is precisely the piece that they intend to incorporate in their work - to be a part of a larger social movement that will positively change the status and roles of women and girls in Peruvian society.
I recently travelled to Cusco, Peru to visit the young scholars of Peruvian Hearts. I had the unique opportunity to meet with 28 Peruvian girls and visit their family homes. I listened to their personal stories and met and talked with some of their family members. I learned of the challenges young girls face in getting an education and witnessed first hand the poverty conditions that pervade areas of the country. To be a Peruvian scholar is a unique commitment, one that ultimately can lead to breaking the cycle of unskilled labor, early motherhood, and continuous poverty for adolescent girls. The young women that I met are overcoming the odds and accomplishing great things. They are achieving outstanding academic success in a culture where university education is rare for young girls. Many are receiving honors in majors like mining engineering, mathematics, biology, business management, hotel management and culinary arts. And, they are giving back to their communities through service and home improvement projects. I felt the sense of passion and gratefulness evolving within the girls as they described their academic work and the support they experience through Peruvian Hearts. They are dreaming about their futures and becoming leaders in their communities even as they work hard to overcome the difficult circumstances they face. Their stories uplifted me and changed me. Peruvian Hearts is making a difference.
Peruvian Hearts is a unique organization that is doing transformative work with young women in Cusco, Peru. Peruvian Hearts works to end poverty and gender inequality by educating young women and creating community leaders. The young women are provided with complete scholarships for secondary and university level education in addition to leadership and empowerment classes and mentorship to give them personal support. All of these factors create a powerful combination that gives them the tools to change their lives and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. The families of Peruvian Hearts Scholars have become part of the empowerment network through group meetings and tools that can help them better support their daughters as they study and work hard to change their own lives.
Peruvian Hearts is making a difference in the lives of its scholars and the girls who participate. The impact and ripples of change from this work will be felt for generations to come by the girls in the program, their siblings and other family members, and the lives they touch as they go forward into positions of leadership within their communities. These bright and caring young women are deeply committed to passing on their opportunities and learning to other young women as mentors and role models.
I have been inspired on a personal level by the strength and determination, heart and compassion our girls demonstrate on a daily basis. My involvement with this work has given me a sense of purpose beyond my life in Colorado. I believe that the empowerment of young women can change the world and it is a privilege and honor to be a part of a group that is working tirelessly to that end .
I have worked with a variety of non-profits in the past, but I don't think I had ever been more accommodated with than Peruvian Hearts. From the minute we arrived at the airport, they had taken care of us the entire way. They made sure the type of service we provided for their community was relevant to their specific needs. Although we could have came more prepared with ideas on service activities, they did their best to make sure our time was well spent and that we would be making an impact. I was so proud to have been given the opportunity to work with them and do hope to find ways to support them in the future!
Volunteering for this non profit has been one of the most memorable experiences in my life thus far. It thought me to see life from a different perspective and inspired me to continue pursuing my goals. Although the girls who are from part of Peruvian Hearts have limited resources, they still have huge dreams and that is highly admirable.
Our student group volunteered with this organization this past March and it was a wonderful experience overall. The onsite staff were so knowledgeable, accommodating and very kind. And the experience with the program participants and our students was priceless! Thank you Peruvian Hearts!!
I am blessed to witness all the hard work put into this organization. I was really amazed and touched with the Peruvian program, how it started, and most of all having to meet all the girls that was part of the program and seeing how committed they are blew my mind away. I have never been so touched and felt welcomed in my life. The program is amazing and I hope to go back again and see their progress.
Peruvian Hearts gave us a warm welcome right upon arrival. They were extremely accommodating and truly gave us an experience of a lifetime regarding the social justice issues of female youth empowerment, poverty, and education. We had a chance to interact with the community and built friendships along the way. I highly recommend the non-profit for those who are looking for a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and the community.
Peruvian Hearts took care of us so well. We had a great service-learning trip and made lasting relationships with the girls and the community. If you're looking to really immerse yourself in a community while doing volunteer work, I highly recommend Peruvian Hearts.
I have worked with Danny Dodson and Peruvian hearts for 2 years and I plan on returning to Cusco, Peru to be part of this amazing organization for years to come. I'm sure all non profits have good motives at their cores but Peruvian Hearts is a cause I can firmly stand behind! Keep up the great work Peruvian Hearts!