The Story of Bruce Peru

The Story of Bruce Peru

Charlton School supports street children in Peru.

Bruce Peru Charity

In 2004 the Head Girl at Charlton, Gemma Heighway, asked if we could support Bruce Peru, a charity that supported some of the poorest children in Latin America. After consideration by the student charity and fundraising group it was decided to sponsor a shanty school, at which deprived children were given the chance to start a proper education. In particular, it was agreed to develop close links with a young family and follow their progress.

Aberlado, Jocelyn and Neyder were selected by Bruce Peru for us to link with. At home they would eat a thin soup containing whatever they had been able to get that day - usually a potato, and usually Abelardo went out early (before school) to more prosperous neighbourhoods to collect food from plastic bags just before the bins were collected between 5 and 6 am. Whatever Aberlado could scavenge went into the daily soup). He would also collect the day's fuel for cooking while out, this entailed gathering sticks as well as passing by the local sawmill, where they usually saved a few board ends for him.

  2004

During that first Year Charlton School collected about £800 to be used for Aberlado’s family and other street children in Trujillo (a large coastal city in north western Peru).

We gained regular reports from the charity about the children. In that first year of support, lunch for Abelardo, Jocelyn and Neyder would include rice beans or lentils, and meat three times a week (usually chicken or goat), and depending on the price, fish once a week. Along with this, they got a piece of fruit, often a banana or Mandarin, and a drink of fresh fruit juice. We also raised enough to support the education for a wider group of students. 

It turned out that the mother (who was skeletally thin) Joselyn and her baby sister were all anaemic. Iron tablets and a nutritive medicine was prescribed for the three of them. Food was sent home with Abelardo to feed the family at night and a social worker for a government run breakfast project got Aberlardo, Joselyn and Neyder into the program. The baby sister was placed into an infant day care centre (a 45 minute bus ride from their home). Here she received three meals - breakfast, lunch and a snack before the mother collected her in the evening - the biggest expense was paying all the bus fares. Aberlardo, Joselyn and Neyder ate a lunch five days a week and ate at a soup kitchen on Saturday's at a cost of 30 pence a meal. The charity would have supported Aberlado and his family anyway without our contribution. However, with the support from Charlton Students over the past 13 years the care for street children in Trujillo has been far more effective. The charity is run by volunteers and the only paid employees are Peruvians who, like most Peruvians, are very poor and struggle to gain employment.

  2006

 

By 2007 Abelardo started attending night school and always seemed cheerful even though he was always the one responsible for his younger siblings: more than the parents.

Joselyn loved school even though she struggled with education. With a big smile she promised to do better the following year.

 Nayder came out of her shell (before, she would not look at anyone other than her brothers and sister and constantly held Joselyn's hand). She also sold sweets most afternoons with her brother and sister.

Their mother rented an egg cart so that she could support her family through her own efforts. However, she rented it from a loan shark, and he ended up making most of the money. Bruce Peru provided her with another cart which she could rent without interest.

 

  2007

 

In 2013 Abelardo and Joselyn were settled in starter professions and mum continued working away at her micro business of cooking and selling eggs in the city centre. Over the years we have had updates on various other children that Charlton money has supported. Some of them have very sad stories indeed. In particular, there was a young 13-year-old girl called Victoria who experienced all kinds of violence in her life. With Charlton support she was cared for, and protected from further threats, in a safe house; she later attended a local school.

After 13 years of financial support from the students at Charlton School the Bruce Peru charity has  become more effective in their work with street children in the bustling city of Trujillo. If you would like to find out more about the work of this charity, then search for bruceperu.org  – click on the tab affiliates and then on the link Schools2schools for more on Charlton support.

Currently (2017) Aberlado is working away from Trujillo in a factory, his sisters are progressing through different levels of education and mum is still running her egg business.

During the coming Summer Bruce, the founder of the charity, is making a visit to Europe and I have arranged to meet him in Spain in on behalf of staff and students at Charlton School. I anticipate that future Charlton projects will be support for building and funding of local schools for the poorest of children in Trujillo, continued updates on Aberlado, Jocelyn, Neyder and their mother. There will also be an opportunity to support a further project that will be considered by current Charlton Student Leaders.

 Below is an extract from a recent update by Bruce Peru

Hope all is going well with you and the students in your classes. 

You may remember that just before our Christmas party we hold a graduation ceremony for children who will not get the opportunity to graduate from a regular school. These are children we taught to read, write and do maths when they were already too old to be accepted into The National Educational system. This is us, sending them out into the world with enough preparation (and self esteem) to cope with what they will face out there.

Congratulations and thank you and your students for your part in making this happen for them.

Happy Christmas,

Bruce and Ana Tere