One thing that doesn’t change from country to country — free food always attracts a crowd.
We went to a fair in Huanchaco, a beach town very close to Trujillo last week. Tables were set up for a competition and judging of seafood dishes. One of SKIP’s volunteers heard about it and thought it would be a great place to tell local people more about SKIP, so the organizer gave us special permission to set up our own table. We commissioned the mothers to make us special snacks, in order to give them the extra income rather than buying it from the stores.
As soon as we set up our table we had people coming up to us, curious about either the food or what SKIP was. We only asked for donations if people wanted to try the food, and people contributed much more than they would pay for these snacks on the street or in stores.
We had more than 5 people express serious interest in volunteering with us, and we actually made more money than we spent on the goodies. Also, it seemed that since they were donating money, everyone took more interest in really caring about what SKIP does for the kids in El Porvenir, and I think the biggest accomplishment of the day was getting our name, mission, and brochures out to so many people.
Recently, SKIP wrote a “Volunteer Mission,” describing why SKIP uses a volunteer based model. Of course, a large part of the need for volunteers is that as a small NGO, it is not practical to have a largely paid staff. But the SKIP volunteer model provides an opportunity for the kids to interact with people from all over the world, with different cultures, ideas, and perspectives on life.
The volunteers also all work together, since the job descriptions are not rigid and they are free to take on other projects that interest them or match with their previous experience. Most importantly, there is constantly a fresh perspective and creative ideas, brought by people who clearly have a large passion for this sort of work with children, families, and the community. The volunteers have the freedom to suggest new ideas like the Huanchaco Fair, new community newsletters, or new ideas for advocacy—just to name a few of the current projects.
It is exciting to be a part of a small NGO that is trying to expand its outreach and support efforts. As soon as Jessica, the other AP Fellow with SKIP, got to Trujillo, the three of us more clearly defined our advocacy project for SKIP as both helping SKIP improve it’s efforts in Trujillo and in pressuring for a higher quality education for the children in Peru.
Hopefully, this advocacy project will put SKIP in contact with many other organizations with similar goals and create a new, more global project for interns. Jessica and I will start with finding organizations at a local, national, and international level that share SKIP’s goal of quality education and helping underprivileged children, so if anyone has any organizations or ideas in mind, please feel free to post them!
Posted By Sara Zampierin
Posted Jun 28th, 2007