Women and Children in La Victoria, Peru Were Touched by New and Exciting Projects – by Sister Gabriela Villela

shoesEducation of the children and mothers is the Seton Way Project team’s highest priority in Peru. The government-led schools require a uniform and specific type of shoes; no uniform, no education!  So shoes were provided for 25 children along with uniforms for a few of the girls.

One visiting the small community of Centro Maria Rivas in La Victoria this year, could well say that the women and children there were touched with new and exciting projects in which parents taught their children and children taught their parents.

One of these projects was to teach the basic techniques for hand and foot reflexology.  Using a well-illustrated chart, I taught the women basic techniques.  I gave them the chart for future use in their homes.   Several sessions gave mothers and their children a chance to practice those techniques on each other.  It was evident that they welcomed this new-to-them way of natural body healing.

Dr. Oscar Soto, a family physician, was invited to evaluate the general health of the children in the Centre, most of whom see a doctor only when they are very sick.  We were particularly looking for symptoms of anaemia and other related health issues.  When some of the test results brought concern to the mothers, Dr.  offered to do followup.  Family health aid kits were provided for each of the women participating in the Centre.

The Grade 9 students from S. Gabriela’s Seton Way Program at the Jean Forest Leadership Academy in Edmonton, AB  donated 35 packets of dental supplies including the instructions (in Spanish, of course) to properly brush teeth and keep them in good condition.

It has been the tradition in the Maria Rivas Centre that children participate in a workshop appropriate to their age before they receive any donations of clothes, health supplies, etc.    In this way, we respect their personal dignity; they’ve earned the donations rather than feeling entitled to them.

La Victoria is situated in the coastal area of Peru where there is almost total absence of rainfall. The soil is sandy and often rocky, desert-like, often characterized by dunes. It takes much care for anything to grow.  In 2014,  the children at the Centre and their mothers got involved in a ecological project by planting seedlings and taking care of them.  This year, I was able to visit each one of their projects. It was a new way to create life and appreciate not only the beauty in nature, but also their responsibility in taking care of it.

The 2015 Mission Projects in La Victoria were made possible by donations received from Edmonton Annunciation Parish Catholic Women’s League (CWL), friends of the Peru Seton Way Project and the Annunciation Parish Recyclable Program. All those involved have felt very much part of the mission and I’m  grateful to them all for their generosity.


This article was featured in our September 2015 edition of Charity Alive.  If you would like more information on purchasing a subscription to Charity Alive, please email us at charityalive@schalifax.ca


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