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Rae_L

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Review for Chicuchas Wasi, Forestville, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

What the street children in Cusco, Peru taught me.

I was a solo traveller in Cusco, Peru in 1986, to try to understand what the enormous attraction was for me to put my CA life on hold and spend a year there to find out. My years as a daily meditator and as a nurse deepened my understanding of empathy and drew me to Cusco somehow. The abandoned Cusco children sleeping in doorways and stealing food to survive found me and surrounded me every day sharing their lives with me and completely changing mine. Desperate young mothers would often try to give me their swaddled infant speaking to me in the Quechua dialect I didn't understand. A mother myself, I could not mistake her meaning and it shook my world and changed my future forever.

In 1987 I founded Chicuchas Wasi(CW) an emergency shelter for many of the children I had come to know and love. Their ability to open their hearts to each other and me, to bond with other abandoned children and find joy in the smallest moment changed my understanding of humanity. We are here to make a difference, one person can and we do not need to move to Cusco, Peru to do so.

I lived in the shelter for 10 years with these children until a young woman raised and educated as a teacher joined our CW team. Together in 1997, she and I reorganized to educate girls and prepare them for a better future out of poverty. Our school for Girls opened and I returned to CA. to seek funding to support it and this has been my ‘work’ for the last 18 years. The passion is very much alive for both Ruth at the school and for me in CA learning to be creative as a fundraiser.

Today as adults, two of our children from the early years of CW serve as board members of the CW School for Indigenous Girls to educate girls and end child abandonment. For the last 28 years this passion has grown and spread to our teachers and support team knowing that the 110 girls being empowered and educated today will never need to abandon their children. I am still inspired constantly by our girls and all they are achieving and are teaching their mothers and grandmothers - denied education due to poverty and being born a girl.

Role:  General Member of the Public