Greetings Our PLB Friends!
With Peru emerging from a long stretch of political instability and scarcity of basic necessities, the recent festivals in the Sacred Valley of Peru were especially vibrant! It has also been nice to see the local economy get a boost from the uptick in tourism.
The children spent many days preparing for these festivals and school performances, says Rosi, head of school at Hogar Semillas. “It was really exciting to see them develop artistically, and dancing with so much enthusiasm.”
Above: One of our Hogar Semillas students, 12-year-old Urpi, shines as a festival dancer wearing traditional dress.
On a more pragmatic note, Rosi recently asked nurses from Peru’s Ministry of Health to visit the home and check the children’s hemoglobin levels to test for anemia, as well as to assess their general health. Anemia is a severe public health problem in the Peruvian highlands. Many children arrive at the home with anemia and low iron levels.
A recent long-term study of the Peruvian highlands, including Cusco, found childhood anemia rates to be higher than 40%. Researchers cite diets low in iron and the introduction of cow’s milk in infancy as possible contributing factors.
Rosi is extremely pleased with the test results: “The children no longer have anemia,” she says. “This is super gratifying for us.”
Above: Flor de María, age 8, is comforted by her friend as she visits with a Ministry of Health nurse.
Most of the children return to their families on weekends, except for 14 kids whose homes are in remote, difficult-to-reach locations. “These children return homes once a month or on holidays so they can keep the family bond,” explains Rosi. On weekends these kids strengthen a family bond with each other by attending cultural activities, baking, and learning hairstyling together.
Below: Hogar Semillas weekenders enjoying their time together.
Above: Alex, age 9 improvising play on the home courtyard.