Love is Who We Are.
Our newest project, Nuevo Camino (New Path), is a special project that one of our young volunteers introduced us to in Cusco, Peru. Sometimes in life, you come across a need that you just can’t ignore. This was one for us.
After a trip to a local women’s shelter at the start of this year, the heartbreaking stories of abandoned and abused mothers and their children compelled us to partner with the shelter to provide support to help the moms and kids get a new start in life. It’s what we do.
The greatest need? Love. It’s something that we all have to give – in the form of a hug, a phone call, an encouraging letter, or a sponsorship check.
Nuevo Camino provides the tools that abandoned and abused moms need to get back on their feet and give their children a shot at life:
Life Coaching: Ranging from basic skills, parenting tips, job support, etc to help the mothers in their Nuevo Camino.
Assistance Grants: 90 days of financial support for rent and living expenses after they transition out of the shelter.
Education Scholarships: Support to either finish high school or learn some English (which gives them more access to jobs that cater to tourists and can earn a higher wage.)
Seed Money: These women have learned how to survive and provide for their families. With just a small investment, they can start microenterprises (street vending, knitting, bread, etc) where they can provide for their children.
Friendship and Family: More than even the financial support, friendship and family is what these women need. As Nuevo Camino’s network of volunteers grows, our goal is to provide support and friendship to these women, as well as create a new family with the women and children in the program. They need a place to be safe and belong. From outings at the park to dinner together in volunteers’ homes, these simple acts of kindness help fuel the start of a new life.
Down, but Not Out
Just as in many cultures around the world, women in Cusco face an uphill battle in many cases. From a male-centric culture, to high risk of gender-based violence, to high levels of domestic violence and abuse, to extreme levels of poverty, and low levels of education, women often find themselves abandoned, abused and alone with no place to turn. It wasn’t until 2015 that some laws were passed to help protect women in Peru and created the types of safe houses like the one we visited. But support is limited and often non-existent after leaving the shelter.
But after a 90-day stay in shelter, the women (who typically have no family to return to) are left on their own to provide for themselves and their children.
Nuevo Camino is designed to support where the shelters leave off. Already fighting to survive, participants must interview to enter the program and demonstrate a commitment to Nuevo Camino, a new path for themselves and their children. A path of hope.
Nuevo Camino is not a welfare program or a hand out. It is a helping hand to those that are down in life, but not out. For women that are ready to work and find new living arrangements, Nuevo Camino provides the life coaching support coupled with financial help to help these women get back on their feet and not just surviving, but living up to their potential.
Contact us if you are interested in coming to Cusco to volunteer at the shelter.
Contact us for a list of current needs for our participating families.