Dear friends of Building Dignity,
As 2009 comes to a close we wanted to update you on work in Lima, Peru and thank you for your support.
In August 2009, Paul joined Emily, Jesús, and Martha in La Encantada to inaugurate the Center for Development with Dignity. During a week of activities (including workshops, concerts, and presentations) we introduced the center to the community, and our momentum has been growing ever since.
In September, Emily said goodbye (for now) to the Building Dignity team in Peru and headed off to Oxford for graduate studies in international development. Jesús and Martha have kept the center vibrant: from Monday to Friday, the Center for Development with Dignity is home to wawa wasis, a daycare program for children ages 0-3. In the evenings, the center has become the regular meeting place for La Encantada leaders and activists who are working to achieve important goals such as water installation. On the weekends, two Peruvian college students, Ivan and Fiorella, teach ‘drop-in’ classes in math and language arts for La Encantada students who want extra help in those subjects. In December, Laura Spencer (a graduate of Macalester College) arrived in La Encantada and has been staying with Jesús and Martha. An avid swing dancer, Laura is currently organizing a series of lindy hop dance workshops later this month.
From December 19-21, Jesús, Laura and the team organized the 9th annual Chocolatada parties in Villa El Salvador. This year, we hosted 1,000 children at Chocolatadas in three locations. As always, our first two parties were in the neighborhoods of La Encantada and Oasis. In previous years, we have hosted Chocolatadas in Upis Villa Mar, a neighborhood close to La Encantada. The community has since relocated, acquiring land in the neighboring district of Pachacamac. While we miss our friends, we are happy that they are now living in a community with access to water and more stable housing. We were especially happy to organize a Chocolatadas in this new neighborhood, Santísimo Salvador. For more pictures of this year's Chocolatadas, we invite you to view Laura's online album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2037028&id=19402227&l=29636e2a21
During the past year, Building Dignity has coordinated sister-school partnerships between schools in Oasis and La Encantada and schools in the United States and Australia. Elementary students exchanged letters and souvenirs from their home communities. The students from Australia and the United States also sponsored the 6th grade graduation ceremonies of their pen pals in Villa El Salvador this December. The Building Dignity team would like to thank Jo Higgins and Brooke Haubrick for their great work in organizing the exchange between their respective schools and the classrooms in Villa El Salvador.
We are also pleased to introduce our supporters to the new member of the Building Dignity team. Susie Taylor from Madison, WI will move to Lima this February to begin work as a Center for Development with Dignity Coordinator. She will be working with Jesús and Martha to develop programming and improve the center’s facilities. Susie was able to visit the center during the early stages of construction while she was volunteering with Villa El Salvador’s senior citizen population. She is now returning to Peru for a longer stay, and we are excited to have her with us!
The Building Dignity team is looking forward to 2010. Our rapidly expanding team is generating creative ideas and community involvement is increasing. We thank you once again for your support.
Emily, Martha, Paul, and Jesús
Victoria Fajardo and "Chocolatada Queen" Laura Spencer
Kids eating panetón
Clowns performing in Oasis de Villa