Sunday, May 25, 2014

Six Years and Still Going

More than three years ago I wrote a post about how an NGO in Peru functions. At that time none of us wondered or thought about the future of Promesa Peru. If we had, we might have asked if we’d still be in existence, and if so would it be the same small grass-roots organization with the same purpose?

Though we registered as an NGO in Chiclayo in November of 2010 we’d actually been doing small charitable activities going back to 2008. We’ve done some good during these last six years. We’ve helped communities by sponsoring medical campaigns and Chocolatadas .  We’ve helped several individual families with emergency assistance in the form of food, clothing and cash. But mostly we’re about doing what we can to help parents and teachers provide education to children. If the teachers don’t have what they need…basic things like chairs, tables and whiteboards we try to help. If the students don’t have what they need…school supplies and clothing, we try to help. It hasn’t been easy. We’re dependant on donations for situations that go beyond providing help for a few individual kids or supplying a few simple items for a classroom. And donations don’t come easy.

Over the years there have been quite a few modest one-time donations. There have also been people who have made multiple donations and then for whatever reason have stopped.  We do appreciate every one of those donations. We would not have made it this far without them. When we ask for support for a specific activity we usually receive a few modest donations. Never have we received enough to cover the entire cost so we board members pay the difference if we can, and that’s okay…that’s what we agreed to do from the very beginning.

As I mentioned in a recent post, requests for assistance are being received at an increasing rate. Often we decline, either because what’s being asked for may be worthy but is outside of our scope, or because we couldn’t realistically hope to raise the needed cash.

Above is a very recent example of a request we received (click on it to enlarge). It was sent to us by the director of the kinder school in Eureka, a village we visited not too long ago. The English translation is:

Gentlemen:     NGO Promesa Peru

Subject:           Request donation of uniforms and educational material

I have the honor to cordially greet you in the name of kinder institution #190 of the caserio Eureka in the district and province of Lambayeque and also express the following:

That Eureka is a place where the condition of life is very poor with a student population of 56 children ages 3, 4, and 5. You cannot require them to attend the school without uniforms, and some children do not have the respective educational material.

Therefore we turn to you to be good enough to donate 56 complete uniforms (pants, polo tops and jackets) to relieve the coming winter in the following sizes:

(She goes on to list the ages and sizes of the students for uniform purposes, and also lists the ages and names of 11 students without school supplies)

I look forward to this valuable support for these needy children and deeply appreciate your cooperation.

We consider this request to be a worthwhile project but one beyond our means. The price of a two-piece uniform consisting of pants and t-shirt is about $11.00, but it gets cool in the desert at night especially in winter and these kids are walking for 30 – 45 minutes to school in the early morning hours so a jacket is necessary. Adding a jacket to the uniform increases the price to $15.47. For 56 students that comes to $866.32.

The director indicated that eleven students are without basic school supplies.  The cost of those supplies plus a bag to carry them in is $15.69 each. The cost for eleven students is $172.59. The total for uniforms and school supplies is $1038.91. That is a lot of money and we would not normally consider it but fortunately this time we’ll be able to do it thanks to a grant from the friends and family of The Alice Cool Foundation.

The school supplies are being purchased, and manufacturing of the uniforms will start next Tuesday.  We’re eagerly looking forward to delivering these gifts to Eureka in about two week’s time and will post lots of photos. To the folks of The Alice Cool Foundation, please accept our thanks and gratitude. Your generous donation is going to help keep those kids in school and make a lot of teachers, mothers and fathers very happy.

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