Since 2009 I have been living several months a year in Arequipa, Peru. That year my husband Tracy Kolenchuk and I visited a Wawa Wasi (Quechua for Baby House) a 10 ft. by 10 ft room for nine children . The room held a single bed that the children lay on cross-ways, there was an outdoor toilet and a hotplate for cooking. We decided to support the Wawa Wasi to enable building a larger room, an indoor bathroom and a kitchen. Through several fundraisers we raised funds, which in conjunction with other donations, enabled the construction of a building three times the original size. 20 children now attend the Wawa Wasi and a second worker has been hired.
When NorQuest College students Aisha Oboh and Carmen Severight visited the Wawa Wasi with me in 2011 they decided to work with me to fund raise for the Wawa Wasi and the agencies where they were doing their practicum.
Upon returning to Edmonton we formed a Society which also included students Vicky Duran and Lincoln Nanaquewitang who were unable to go to Peru but are enthusiastic in their involvement with SUPC. A first successful Peruvian night fundraiser was held in November 2011. Funds were distributed between three agencies: Cuna Jardin Corazon de Jesus who used the funds to help fix a ceiling damaged by rain and to buy a CD unit so the children could listen to music; the Wawa Wasi who used the funds to buy tiles and lay a floor in the new building; and the Centre for Handicapped Children (who can use the funds to provide riding at Ayudame Caballo – the therapeutic riding centre- or other support as needed.)
In 2012 two other students, Nicole Barrret and Chrstine Murray completed their practicum at the Cuna Jardin. Upon returning to Edmonton Nicole joined the board of SUPC and Christine helped arrange the fundraiser at the Metro. In 2016 five students: April LeBlanc, Brandy Berry, Stephanie Gillanders, Leila Norton and Sneha Prakash completed their practicum in Arequipa, LeBlanc and Berry at IRID and Gillanders, Norton and Prakash at the Cuna Jardin. Berry has subsequently also joined the SUPC Board.
The second annual Peruvian night fundraiser , with Peruvian food catered by Carla Tamayo,was held in October 2012. This has become an regular event on our schedule along with the Latin Music Night.
The first Latin Music Night, organised by Christine Murray, was held in 2012 included the at Metro Billiards. As well, Nicole Barrett has arranged two years of donation of profits from coffee sold at Smitty’s restaurant in Whitecourt each Sunday in December.
In 2013 we combined the Latin Music Night and Peruvian dinner for at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton. Other donations came from Sunday School students at St. Bride’s Anglican Church in Watson, Saskatchewan and a local book club.
In 2014 we separated the dinner and the Latin Music night. We now hold the Peruvian dinner at Holy Trinity Anglican Church with Carla Tamayo continuing to prepare the food. The Latin Music Night continues to be held at the Yardbird Suite in either late October or early November.