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May 2013: Volunteers Expand and Improve Building Dignity Programming

posted Jun 2, 2013, 3:27 AM by Henrik Mitsch
Volunteers Expand and Improve Building Dignity Programming

In 2012, 65 volunteers from four continents contributed more than 600 hours of their time to Building Dignity.  This month, we would like to introduce you to three of our most dedicated volunteers: Rocio Hernani Sevillanos, Karina Hernani Sevillanos and Claudia Pezo Mitman. All three live within two blocks of the Center for Development with Dignity in Lima, Peru. We sat down with them to learn what motivates them and how their work with Building Dignity has impacted their lives.


Rocio teaching Saturday morning math class
Rocio Hernani Sevillanos
: With the exception of our founders, nobody has been working with Building Dignity longer than Rocio. For the past three years, Rocio has taught weekly math and reading classes for students who need extra help. According to Rocio, she began volunteering at Building Dignity because "it was a beautiful idea to be part of this organization, to join a good cause, and help the people from my community." Rocio recalls how "at first, it was a small organization. But I knew right away that it was going to grow fast because it was the answer to so many problems in the community. Over the years, I have watched the community coalesce around the Center for Development with Dignity." When asked to recall a favorite memory, Rocio struggled to choose just one: "There are various moments. At first, my classes were small. A favorite memory is seeing my alumnitos (little students) start to come, one by one, every Saturday. Soon my classes were very full. I have seen the need, and I feel good to be able to contribute. The experience has been very gratifying for me." Rocio’s dream for Building Dignity: "That it keeps growing and continues to have your support."

Rocio is in her fifth year of pharmacy school. When she graduates next year, she hopes to find a job in a large company with many opportunities for personal growth.

Karina teaching computer class
Karina Hernani Sevillanos
: Karina has been with Building Dignity since the beginning, thanks to the work of older sister Rocio. In 2011, Karina was taking a course on computers when former Program Director Andrew Mueller approached her about putting her skills to work at the Center. Watching Rocio and Andrew motivated her to join the team. Ever since, Karina has taught weekly computer classes for adults. Her favorite memory is watching participation in her class grow: "At first, very few neighbors came. Now, there are more and more, and they all know the basics of using a computer. They can turn it on and off, and they can use many of its programs." Her dream for Building Dignity: "That we continue to grow and work with new people. It gives me great happiness to see how far we’ve come."

Karina is completing two years of voluntary military service. Afterwards, she hopes to be accepted into the Officers’ Academy. 

Claudia presenting Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Voices of Youth meeting
Claudia Pezo Mitman
: In 2011, Claudia began participating in Building Dignity’s youth leadership program, Voices of Youth. She decided to join the program after seeing how close the Center was to the community. In 2012, Claudia graduated from Voices of Youth and began working as the program’s assistant. Currently, she works to expand Voices of Youth into the nearby community of Oasis. During her years with Building Dignity, Claudia has observed many changes: "There is much more participation and more involvement of young people. There are also many more organizations that now collaborate with Building Dignity. This is great!" Claudia's favorite memory is being selected to represent Building Dignity at a city-wide youth forum organized by the mayor of Lima: "I shared the reality of youth in Lomo de Corvina. I met other organizations and learned how to build a network."

Claudia is in her first year at the University San Martin de Porres where she is studying to be an obstetrician. When she finishes the five-year program, she hopes to work in the rural areas of Peru, "bringing health services to the most abandoned communities."


It has been an honor to work with Rocio, Karina and Claudia and help them grow as community leaders. Building Dignity is grateful to count on the support of these talented young women who are the engines of social change in their communities and proof that a brighter future is on the horizon.
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Henrik Mitsch,
Jun 2, 2013, 3:27 AM
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Henrik Mitsch,
Jun 2, 2013, 3:27 AM
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