Updated: Aug 17
Copenhagen International School, CIS, takes global citizenship very seriously and leads the way with several outreach partnerships with developing countries.
Photographs: Copenhagen International School
Text: Monika Pedersen
Team Peru is one such long standing volunteer project evolving in 2006 coordinated by Charlotte Zeeberg, School Health Nurse, Lorraine Wykes, biology teacher and Michael Ferrari, Individuals & Societies Teacher. Together with a dedicated team of students ranging from grade 9 to 12, they support unprivileged children in northern Peru.
NGO Kiya survivors
Team Peru works in partnership with a UK-based charity organisation, Kiya Survivors. Kiya Survivors was founded by Suzy Butler in 2001 and endeavours to provide opportunities for children who have special needs or have been abused in Northern Peru.
Mama Cocha Centre
Together, they have supported the build and later the transfer of the Mama Cocha Children’s Centre, now located in Mancora. In addition, through CIS’s industrious efforts to raise funds through a variety of enterprising activities, such as sponsored walks, bake sales, and babysitting services, the Mama Cocha Centre has been able to provide physical therapy sessions, teach life skills, and offer a safe environment for young people when their parents are at work.
"Camila shared that she joined Team Peru to actively make a change and ‘make life better for others."
Making a difference
Zach Zeidler and Camila Fernandez are two international students at CIS who have given up their free time to arrange and take part in several fundraising events to create awareness of the hardship in Peru and raise desperately needed money to run the Mama Cocha Children's Center.
Camila shared that she joined Team Peru to "actively make a change and make life better for others". Zach's motivations were similar. He was keen "to be mindful and learn about other cultures, and wanted to raise money and support a good cause".
Every Tuesday, around 40 students join Camilla at the weekly Team Peru meetings, ready to help and make a difference. They learn effective communication, advertising and promotion, project organisation, people management, and deadline delivery skills during their work.
Every other year a group of 12 Team Peru students travel to Peru to see first-hand the fantastic work and experience the realisation of their fundraising efforts. Whilst at the centre, maintenance of the centre but just as important helping with building bathrooms at the children's homes, as many families do not have such luxury, nailing nets to the windows to keep out bugs, and making connections with the children through games, laughter, and participation in daily routines. Zach can vouch for the fact that for him, it was a life-impacting trip and one that moulds his thinking and actions.
Covid 19 has disrupted lives, and northern Peru has not escaped the turmoil. Since March 2020 and lockdown regulations, the operations at the Mama Cocha Centre have stopped, and it had been closed. Fortunately, the small but dedicated team has been biking out to check in with families who have experienced additional economic and emotional trauma. This point of contact is greatly appreciated and a lifeline.
Life Boxes are a lifeline
Team Peru has not been thwarted and has maintained its fundraising activities through online ventures. In addition, they are very fortunate to have the support of the Parents Teacher Association, PTA, who also spread the word and encourage donation-making. Through these initiatives, funds have continued to come in, but there is always more that can be done.
Their current focus is Life Boxes. These boxes are life savers, for they contain cleaning products, medical kits, hand gel, face masks, fans, and dry or fresh foods. They make a massive difference to a struggling family, and the Mama Cocha team work diligently to distribute the much-needed supplies.
The plight of the Mama Cocha Centre hangs in the balance as the battle to combat Covid 19 continues. However, Team Peru remain steadfast in their efforts to make a difference to the lives of others. This mindset and determination bring about change and creates a better society, Congratulations Team Peru.