Fundraising A group of four friends decided to take a holiday together to Peru to trek through the mountains and view Machu Picchu – one of the Wonders of the World. Acknowledging how lucky we were, we decided to use this experience to give back to the people of this beautiful country. After doing a lot of research on various charities in Peru, we agreed that we wanted to raise funds for Living Heart Peru. We chose LHP because it aligns with our philosophies of teaching people to be healthy and self-sufficient. We liked that LHP was a locally based charity and used their donations to teach people in remote areas about nutrition, health & education. We began a Facebook campaign and asked friends and family to make a small donation towards our cause explaining that we would trek the Salkantay Trek, a challenging 37.5 mile (60.5 km) trek through mountain passes and high-altitude jungle. We named our fundraiser “Raising Money with Every Step.” We offered an incentive as well – every donation would receive a personalized post card sent from us from Peru. After launching our campaign, we slowly began to receive donations from loved ones who saw the amazing contribution Living Heart Peru does for the people in Peru. Each week we would make a request for contributions, and each week more people would donate and our fundraising goals became closer to being realized. It was beautiful to see how much people cared about our cause and wanted to contribute to the lives of people they didn’t (and would never know). We received donations from all over the world including from America, France, Australia and the United Kingdom. When we arrived in Peru we were lucky enough to be able to visit the offices of Living Heart Peru, in Pisac, and meet Sophia, the director, and her current volunteers. We talked for a few hours with Sophia and her passion about their projects and what the charity hoped to accomplish in the future was inspiring to us all. We were able to see two current LHP projects; a local dentist providing dental work to people of all ages & a nutrition class showing locals and people from nearby villages how to use healthy food. Seeing what Living Hearts Peru was doing for the people of Pisac and the surrounding villages solidified our joy about picking them to raise the money for. When we left their offices, we knew that we had made the right decision. Our trek to Machu Picchu was a beautiful one and made all that more special knowing that with every step taken, we had done something for the Peruvian people aided by LHP. When our fundraiser had come to an end we had received over 50 donations and raised over $2300 USD (approximately $7500 Peruvian Sole)! We spent many hours addressing post cards and writing to loved ones about how much their contribution was going to help the people of Peru. We highly recommend that if you are thinking of making a donation, or starting a fundraiser yourself that you consider Living Hearts Peru. With love from, Lisa, Nina, Cam & Jeff, Australia, 2015
"It was so fun to help Living Heart Peru with marketing. I was able to go up to the communities and meet the children in the schools. They had some amazing stories and I loved learning about their way of life which is so different yet so inspiring. I was able to take some photos whilst visiting the communities which then I could use for Living Heart's fundraising and marketing material such as calenders, postcards and newsletter. I had a really great time being creative and using my skills to support the charity. Sophia, who runs the charity, has a really big heart for the projects and my wife and I felt so welcomed by her kindness and support. She does great work here at Living Heart and is always keen to have extra hands to help in the charity. Definitely recommended volunteering with Living Heart, even if you can only spare a short amount of time as a little can go a long way!" - George Tapp, England
"Confession … Before I embarked on this experience, I had carefully packed my rose-colored glasses into my backpack. Conjured visions of uniformed children, holding hands, and singing nursery rhymes swarmed my imagination. I had been informed about the high altitude of the Cusco and the nearby highlands, and as a Western traveller, I added the precautionary high-altitude-sickness pills to my medical kit. This was the extent of my mental and physical preparation. What awaited me was something far different. I’m not sure if it was the wailing 2-year old who stood alone in a 5-degree rainstorm with no shoes, no mother and no protector. Maybe it was the abandoned grandmother who slept in sub-zero temperatures with only a piece of plastic to protect her body. Or perhaps it was the disabled children I learned of, who are innocently chained to beds or locked in cupboards because parents don’t have the knowledge, resources or money to provide the required care and treatment. Either way, my visits to the communities, my interaction with the locals, and the subsequent support that we provided, touched me on some level resulting in a mind-altering change. As the Marketer of the team, I was responsible for launching creative campaigns, newsletters, social media, advertising and anything that falls under the ‘publicity umbrella’. That said, the team was careful not to pigeon-hole me into a Title. I had the creative freedom and flexibility to implement, recommend and contribute to community projects and campaigns. My input was always welcomed at weekly meetings, my I.T. and marketing expertise were consistently called upon, and my regular visits to the communities were always brightly welcomed. The women behind the Living Heart Peru operation are some of the most dedicated, motivated and committed individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. Always willing to impart their knowledge and provide support, they included me as part of their team from Day 1. I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have stumbled across this culturally-unique opportunity, and to have been immersed in this environment. And next time, I plan to leave the glasses at home." -Annette Cini, Australia, 2012
Projects "Working with Io Sophia and the small team of volunteers in Pisac for two months was a wonderful experience. The backbone of Living Heart Peru, they are dedicated, compassionate, professional, and well-educated regarding the local communities’ customs and needs. Every project is truly a collaboration with project beneficiaries, and the NGO’s unwavering commitment to sustainable, informed development projects made my involvement gratifying. During my time in Peru, I worked to host fundraising events in Pisac, teach nutrition classes in the highland communities, organize and distribute clothing donations, promote dental campaigns, and write grant applications. Although the teachers’ strike during the first month of my stay made accessing the remote communities challenging, this resulted in an incredible opportunity to move in with a host family in a community, support them in caring for their disabled child, and learn the Quechua language. Throughout my experience, I had the support of Living Heart staff, and a dynamic set of opportunities that I’d never envisioned before I left home. Working with Living Heart Peru is a unique and exciting prospect for anyone who is passionate about sustainable development, poverty alleviation, building strong local connections, and learning about the indigenous way of life in Andean highland communities." -Deborah Walnicki, USA, 2017 "I was lucky to have the opportunity to spend some time with the Living Heart Peru organization in the stunning Sacred Valley, Peru. I arrived on dental day and was greeted by some American volunteers helping with the dentistry, as well as Io Sophia who looks after Living Heart and all of its activities. The center itself incorporates a children’s play area where they can come and spend time with other children during the day while their parents work in the local market. As well the small dentistry area upstairs, one room to house a volunteer, an administration area, and facing the main street a café for all to enjoy. A lot of opportunities under one roof. I got to help volunteer with some healthy food education in the café, as well as up in one of the more remote villages during the first day of school. Having the opportunity be invited up into a slightly isolated village to be welcomed by students, families and teachers was a great way to get to know some of Peru’s rich culture. If you are given the opportunity to spend some time volunteering with Living Heart Peru, it will be a memory you won’t soon forget." -Kix Marshall, Canada, 2018
"I spent 6 very important months working for Living Heart Peru in 2011 after being invited to set up a Sustainable Agriculture project to support the nutrition and education programmes. It was an eye opening experience for me and working in those remote communities was the most challenging and rewarding of times. I spent the first 8 weeks working with the schools, where I was shocked at the lack of materials and resources available and saw first hand how important are the supplies and support provided by Living Heart Peru. Hours from anywhere, small groups of heroic teachers somehow hold together schools and communities against the odds. Over the next 4 months we set up a pilot Educational Greenhouse Project, working in collaboration with other local NGOs, the community and the ‘Municipalidad’ in the planning stages and successfully raising enough funds to begin the project. Seeing the Educational Greenhouse project come to fruition at the end of last year been very satisfying – not least as I know that Living Heart Peru is the very best of organisations to manage this sort of programme due to their intimate understanding of the communities, and the trust they have built with these truly amazing people." -James Cole, UK, 2011
Fundraising "After volunteering with Living Heart Peru I was completely blown away by their [Living Heart Peru’s] hard work and compassion, with a commitment to ensure all donors’ money goes to those who most need it. Do you know individuals or small organisations with a talent and a big heart? Keen volunteers are also a huge asset. This is how I started. I talked to them about what we are doing in Living Heart Peru and they wanted to help.
I have now done an abseil with ACE (a local organisation here) who offered their expertise free to me for the day. Last year we did an abseil with approximately 15 people raising a staggering £2300!! All I asked was that they raise at least £50 each to take part. I baked some biscuits and brought sandwiches, juice, tea and coffee to make it feel more homely. I also gave them little badges to congratulate them. ACE have offered their services again this year and already I have a number of people wanting to participate.
A great individual has taken my idea of a Scottish night to a whole different level. He has dealings with a lot of bands and has supported me in providing what should be a fantastic live music event that we can repeat year after year. This has been a lot of hard work but will be well worthwhile. Word of mouth and lots of e mails to everyone you know is key, including setting up an event on Facebook, and inviting lots of people to join.
Every small community has a Women’s Rural and/or a Knitting Bee with ladies using ends of wool and creating lots of amazing warm clothes. They just need a little nudge to create the right clothes for Living Heart Peru. I have this with a wonderful group my aunt put me in contact with. I am sure there will be lots in your area too … just ask around." - Heather Buchanan, Scotland, 2011
Friend Raiser Event From Chicago to Peru, a Friendraiser on October 27th and December 1st.
"Before I returned from volunteering with Living Heart Peru from February to June 2012, I made a promise to introduce my family and friends to the work of Living Heart Peru and hopefully raise some funds for Living HeartPeru.
I consulted with my friend Liz and told her that I wanted to host an event at my house to introduce the work of Living Heart Peru. Liz suggested a Friendraiser instead of a Fundraiser. I liked the idea of creating friends of Living Heart Peru in Chicago. The Evite read Living Heart Peru Celebration. I decided to serve some Peruvian food and make it a fun evening, I printed out photos from the Living Heart Peru website and set up three displays, one of ´´The Weaving School¨, ¨The Educational Greenhouse´´ and ´´The Children of Living Heart Peru´´. My neighbor, Loretta who is an artist helped arrange the photos on poster board using easels.
My son-in-law, Steve who is a graphic designer got very excited about the story of Living Heart Peru and put together a one page flyer with a letter from me, his idea was to have each person leave with an envelope which included information on how to donate if they choose.
On Liz´s advice I gave a short presentation on the work of Living Heart Peru after dinner and I got a lot of good questions. Twenty people attended the event on October 27th and 10 people attended a brunch on December 1st. The response was very favorable both in terms of donations and interest. The friends of Living Heart Peru in Chicago and also one in Boston and New York will stay connected to the work of Living Heart Peru through the newsletter.
I want to thank Liz, Loretta, Steve, Jocelyn and Judy for their help with the Friendraiser and also my friends who attended, for their generous donations in the amount of $2,165. I recommend having help on the day of the event, with setup of the food and drinks. Also make sure to take pictures, I forgot at the first Friendraiser. I am attaching the flyer that I gave to each person, I think it tells the story of Living Heart in a compelling way and touches people´s hearts. See Mary's one page flyer.
I plan to repeat this event when I return from Peru this year, it is a way to keep my friends connected to the work of Living Heart Peru. I enjoy filling my house with friends, making food and serving it, as well as sharing the story of Living Heart Peru. If you would like to contact me regarding setting up a Friendraiser for Living Heart Peru I can be reached at “email@example.com” and will be happy to share the benefit of my experience and lend support to your effort." - Mary Meyer Chicago Dec 2012
"My husband and I had the pleasure of volunteering with Living Heart Peru in Decemeber 2017-January 2018. It was a truly worthwhile charity to support and we had such an amazing time visiting two of the rural communties high up in the mountains. Here we had the wonderful opportunity to lead the children in music workshops and English classes as well as hearing their stories and generally getting to know them. It was so much fun! The kids were so keen to learn and play and it was heartwarming to see their attitude to life despite the hardships they face. We learnt so much from them and their joyful spirits. From visiting the communities, it is clear that the provision from LHP, such as food donations and greenhouse projects, is a great support and goes a long way. Volunteering with LHP is an experience I am so grateful for!" - Krissy Tapp, England
"This gave me a wonderful insight into the communities. The commitment and how hard working the teachers were was humbling. Some arrive at the pickup point at 6am every morning and walk up to 1 ½ hours in the heat of the day after finishing work! Doing this 5 days a week puts what we do into perspective. I only did this 2 days a week and felt exhausted needing a day to recover!! However working with the children was a real treat and very rewarding. Especially when they see you at the market, run up to you shaking your trouser leg, smile and say “profesora” – this was a wonderful, lasting memory for me. This with the smiling attentive faces, so keen to learn, the amazing scenery surrounding these schools … why wouldn’t you want to do this? I had the experience of bringing up children so knew enough to make creative classes fun. You can do the same and more I am sure." - Heather Buchanan, Scotland, 2011
Organisation Development and Financial Record Keeping "Using my management experience I was able to help prioritise and plan with the Living Heart Peru team to ensure we were focusing on the key areas, to take the NGO forward. Being part of such a small, like-minded team, full of energy, commitment and compassion, was hugely rewarding. We worked hard every day using our restructured weekly meetings to keep our eye on where we were with each priority and as obstacles were put in our way, as often happens, resolving these together and moving on. The challenge is working in an environment with less infrastructure and adapting without compromising your beliefs and principles, remaining true to our goal and values. People development has always been something I am passionate about so I used this to help develop the team. Helping put all the financial information into order and easily accessible on the computer was challenging but again very rewarding working closely with Ineke and our accountant. Continuing on with Living Heart is so important to me now; to help them reach many more communities. This NGO is so worthwhile why wouldn’t you want to be part of it and help them in whatever way you can?"
- Heather Buchanan, Scotland, 2011
Grant Applications "This was a whole new challenge for me and proved to be a big challenge but with lots of new skills gained and a real sense of achievement when complete. I had the pleasure of working on 2 major grant applications. Getting into the minds of the organisation and the committee of people who would be looking at the applications was very interesting; then trying to pitch the application to maximise our chances of being selected. This required discipline to research, write and rewrite. Once I was happy with what I had written taking critical appraisals on board and amending again. The outcome however was a huge sense of achievement and working with a team in such a way was hugely rewarding, bouncing ideas and brainstorming together."
- Heather Buchanan, Scotland, 2011
Living Heart Peru PO Box 133, Correo Central- Av. El Sol, Cusco, Peru firstname.lastname@example.org