Why Emily Peru Hope Started
Emily was the daughter of the initial trustees and founders of the charity. She went to help out at New Hope Children’s Home in Arequipa during a gap between jobs. She fell in love with Peru and planned to move there to help local disadvantaged children at some point. Tragically and unexpectedly, she collapsed and died within a month of turning twenty-nine.
From discussions one year earlier when she was buying her first home, her wishes in the event of an early death, which, of course, no-one thought would ever happen, were known. She wanted anything she left as a legacy to be used to help others, and in particular abandoned children like those she had met over the course of the previous three-and-a-half years, as she returned to Peru to try to help during her holidays from her London job.
What does Emily Peru Hope do?
Emily felt her own education had been a privilege and she wanted to help the children in Peru to share some of that and make their lives better
How to do this was initially unclear to her parents, trying to follow through on Emily’s wishes. She had considered living in Peru and starting a school for street children. She was a committed Christian, a gifted linguist, an effective communicator, a hard-working career girl with a world-leading company, and had deep love and concern for those in need.
With some trepidation, but bolstered by the goodwill and prayers of many friends at home, Emily’s parents set off to visit the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. They knew what Emily had hoped to do, but were aware they lacked the skills, particularly fluent Spanish, to do much in Peru.
The hope was for guidance as to how to proceed. Contacts in Peru who knew Emily, from Latin Link and at New Hope, helped immensely with the logistics of their visit. In practice, so many things fitted together during the visit that the bounds of coincidence were shattered. They got to visit New Hope and meet the staff and many children who remembered Emily with great affection. They were also taken to see the home Casa Hogar El Amor de Dios while a potential project funded by others was being considered.
It became apparent to them that they would not be able to set up a school for street children: the language, the legalities and the bureaucracy would have been crushing. However: they observed that many children at the Homes had fallen behind in their schooling, sometimes by years, because of the disruption to their family life. They realised they could use rental income from the flat they had inherited from Emily to cover the cost of employing remedial teachers. They would work in each Home with the children struggling most, to bring them up to speed and give them a better chance in adult life.
New Hope Children’s Homes, Arequipa
Memorial services for Emily were held both at her place of worship, All Souls Church in Langham Place in London, and at her parents’ church in Carrickfergus. At these services and together with associated donations from friends and relatives a staggering five-figure sum was raised. This was passed over to New Hope Home in Peru where she had visited and helped five times over forty months. Discussions with David Bolas at the home led to a three-fold plan for using the money:
- to create a library,
- to create a playground for the smallest, pre-school children (and incidentally contribute to improving/replacing the existing, somewhat run-down play area), and with the remainder
- to set up a fund for the children pursuing further education or vocational training.
Given Emily’s love of books, and her desire to help the children reach their potential through education, the idea of David Bolas to use some of the money donated to Emily’s memorial services (in Carrickfergus and London) to create a library was a brilliant way to go.
The rooms set aside have been imaginatively furnished and many books donated, and are a refuge for the children. There are Reading Nights when they can listen to stories, and the library is also used for devotional nights when they learn more about the Christian message.
New books in Spanish are always welcome, but cost more new than their equivalent English texts. Discussions are under way about obtaining some books in the U.S.A. and transferring them to Arequipa, and about other ways in which the use of the Library may be expanded.
Casa Hogar El Amor de Dios Children’s Homes, Arequipa
Jose and Gloria in their youth both worked with street children in Arequipa, trying to alleviate their situation as best they could. Then they were challenged by the children: you go to your own homes every night, why can’t we go too? Jose and Gloria pointed out they didn’t actually have a home for themselves, but when they were married, they would see what they could do.A while later, at their wedding, the street children turned up: ready to go. The following week, Jose and Gloria moved into a house of their own, and a number of children were able to stay with them. So began the process of creating a Children’s Home…
Casa Hogar El Amor de Dios Children’s Home, Summer Camp
hile the primary purpose of the Emily Peru Hope Trust is to try to improve the educational standards of children in the Homes, other projects are undertaken. The children at Casa Hogar were sponsored for a visit to Summer Camp in their summer holidays in January. Here are some pictures of them enjoying good times together on the beach.
Children’s Homes in Arequipa
There are currently twenty-eight Children’s Homes in the city of Arequipa alone. Only a couple are State-run, but all are supervised by the government authorities. Most children arrive at a Home at the request of a judge, although it is not uncommon for a parent to simply abandon children at their doors.
Both the Children’s Homes being supported have been started and are run by Christians who want to show the Love of God by helping the children placed in their care. Each Home has around four dozen children, some of whom come for a little while before being able to return to their family, or being found a new family, while others are there for longer, for one reason or another.