Taxco, Mexico 2012. Jumping on an ATV I set my sights on Peru. Nearly four years later, 5000kms by ATV, 6000kms on horseback and after the most testing, rewarding and eye opening years of my life we are close to realising the goal. To make a difference.
I had previously reached out to children’s charities in each of the eleven countries I planned to pass through, hoping to volunteer with and raise funding for each of the chosen organisations. Never could I have hoped to connect with so many wonderful people or be fortunate enough to be given the opportunities handed to me. From seeing the courage of children born with HIV to having the honour of coaching disabled athletes aiming to compete for a place in the Paralympics.
Too much for one blog so we start at the beginning, Oaxaca, Mexico and my very first volunteer location.
“Harold and Jodi Bauman founded Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots in 1996 supporting approximately seventy children. They soon realized that they could help even more children attend school if they formalized their initiative; with the help of others, they chartered Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots creating the child-sponsorship program. By the end of 1997, 148 children had found sponsors with the help of Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots. The number continues to climb, and today over 600 children have sponsors who support them through Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots and our Oaxacan center el Centro de Esperanza Infantil. Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots continues to serve as many of the poorest children as possible, children who otherwise, would never have the change to go to school.”
My time here set the tone for what was to follow, seeing the dedication of all involved in the project, no hidden agendas just a real desire to offer care and opportunity. I got to spend time teaching, cooking and visiting the homes of some of the children involved in the programme.
What next? With what has been raised and pledged so far we are looking to sponsor at least two children in each of the schools I got to work with. This will be just the beginning. Not just to make a one-off donation but begin what will be ongoing support. Also to provide a fee free volunteer placement service. In the following weeks we shall be taking an in depth look at each organisation and what your support means and how you can continue to be involved, with an opportunity to see what this means through the years of each child’s education.
Thank you for reading,