Charity Begins in Peru for Homebird Jay
23 Sep 2008
Charity begins at home for Jay Chavez, from Shropshire who recently returned to her native Peru to set up a school for underprivileged children
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If you think charity begins at home, you may well be right. Jay Chavez, from Shropshire, recently returned to her native Peru to set up a school for underprivileged children.
It was on a volunteer expedition in Arequipa, the main city of southern Peru, that Jay first met Luis Chavez, now her husband. Both shared a passion for building community spirit, where poverty and malnutrition undermines the ability to educate and create opportunities.
Jay and Luis began to do some volunteer work in the local orphanage, which inspired them to help even more. So, they set up a project of their own ñ teaching children to speak English. After doing this for a while, with no facilities except the local basketball court, the couple managed to raise enough funds to build a classroom and some much needed toilets.
They advertised for volunteers, offering them the chance to see another side of Peru while on their travels. As well as teaching these disadvantaged children to speak English and enhancing their future opportunities, Jay and Luis’s school in Chachani also provided its pupils with at least one meal a day.
Parents of the local children were suspicious as to why the couple were giving up their time and asking for nothing in return. For Jay and Luis, the gratification that they were making a difference was enough.
’When times were tough and money was scarce,’ Jay says, ‘I often wondered why we were doing this. Then all the volunteers would arrive and I’d realise we were not the only crazy people.’
Contact: Luis and Jay Chavez
Tel: +51 95 98 56 31
Above: one of the school’s pupils
Photo: © Molly Johnson
Molly Johnson is 17 and studying
at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College
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