Both Tracy and I visited both IRID and the Cuna Jardin Corazon de Jesus this past week. Summer in Arequipa is the rainy season and this year the rain has been particularly severe flooding many homes and also washing out roads. IRID was not affected by the rain but two of the children’s classrooms at the Cuna Jardin were damaged, the roof will need to be repaired and a moisture barrier added and then the ceiling of the classroom repaired.
As its summer holidays there are only about 35 children attending the Cuna Jardin, once school starts in March there will be more than 120 children ranging from two to five. During the school year, after their regular school hours are over, older children come to the Cuna to participate in a homework club.
We also met with Roberto D’Amico, Peru Inside Out travel agency, who provided a special Christmas celebration for the children at the Cuna Jardin. We discussed various ways of providing information to travellers about the Cuna Jardin and ways they can help support it. I will provide an update as plans develop.
Currently there are 35 children and young adults living at IRID – when the children reach adulthood there isn’t another place for them go so they remain at the centre. Some of the residents have severe medical complications and require daily medications; the Government pays a portion of the costs but does not cover the full amount. Donations from SUPC help with the additional cost. Funds can also be used to help pay for the different therapists needed to work with the residents. It can be difficult to find workers willing to come to the Centre as it is on the outskirts of Arequipa – about an hour by bus – and private agencies in the City are able to pay more than IRID can.
Both agencies accept volunteers, currently a local US/Peruvian family is volunteering several days a week at IRID – doing outdoor work and maintenance. They have also started a vegetable garden and the more able children work in it – giving them a sense of accomplishment. There are also two volunteers currently working with the children at the Cuna Jardin
Links to more photos of the visits here: