Friday, 28 March 2008

Angelica's Birthday

Today is Angelica's (one of our project particpants) birthday. Yesterday, after the training session, The Colour of Hope threw her a surprise party with the other group members, her sister Natali, her children, mother and sister-in-law.

Everyone enjoyed themselves very much and Angelica was almost moved to tears. She said that it was the first time anyone had ever done anything like that for her.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Peru's government to get rid of Lima's child labor and begging in 8 months?

In sixteen special operations, child labor and begging will be eradicated from Lima's streets in the next eight months, announced today Peru's Labor Minister, Susana Pinilla.

She affirmed that the aim was to get 35 to 40 children off
Lima's streets with each operation, assuring that child labor and begging could be eliminated from the capital's streets in sixteen sessions.

Pinilla explained that 60 percent of the children begging in Lima's streets were doing so because they were being exploited by someone else, while 40 percent was attributed to extreme poverty or family violence. She stated that poor children begged in the street because they did not have enough to eat at home. According to Pinilla, another factor that influenced begging was child abuse.

In an effort to help mothers and fathers learn how to treat their kids, Peru's Labor Ministry is also setting up parenting schools for parents that beat their children. Pinilla stated this was being done because there are a great deal of parents that have admitted to abusing their children.

Once children are taken off Lima's streets, they will be transported by bus to a health center, where they will undergo physical and psychological evaluations. "That is where we will know if the child is abused, if they have marks on their bodies", said Pinilla. "At that point we will make ourselves responsible for the child and take them to an orphanage."

Text courtesy of Living in Peru

This story was posted on Living in Peru News section on 19th February 2008. Since then, it has sparked off some very interesting and pertinent comments from readers -

"Will they really care for the kids in an orphanage? Will the children really get what they need? Will they have a better future???"

"I find it unfortunate that they did not pay any attention to these children before. And what about all those children in other cities and villages? Why only in Lima? I believe that the only reason to this now is to clean up their image before the APEC starts in November. After that it will be back to the daily practice."

"Poverty and marginalization destroy families and lead kids to the street. Not even 16 police operations can change that. How about sixteen operations to eradicate extreme poverty in Lima?"

The Colour of Hope seconds all three of these comments. There are now a good number of orphanages/children's homes in Lima, but not enough for 640 more children to be properly cared for. And dumping Lima's child worker population in care homes isn't going to solve the problem; it's just a plaster on the wound. It seems that "sixteen operations" is an awfully good way to appear to be doing something about the problem, whilst in reality, everyone knows it will only scrape the surface.

WebSpanish & The Colour of Hope Press Release

Last Saturday, 15th March, The Colour of Hope published its first press release! Here is the published text, and click this link to see the original on Yahoo! News

British Charity, The Colour of Hope, confirms that online Spanish language program, WebSpanish, will begin to donate a percentage of each class fee to its youth reintegration program.

Peru, (PRWEB) March 15, 2008 -- The Colour of Hope charity was officially formed in August 2007* and works to reduce poverty, advance education and promote employment amongst disadvantaged young people leaving care homes in Lima, Peru.

Margaret Stevens, Chair of The Colour of Hope, said, "We are so grateful to WebSpanish for its support and commitment to our work. Many people and businesses give to children's charities or the elderly, but often less so to young adults. Thank you, WebSpanish, for recognizing the difficulties faced by these underprivileged young people in Lima. Your donations will go a long way in making a difference and providing the opportunities they need."

The majority of the young people The Colour of Hope works with have previously been street children, coming from backgrounds of domestic violence, extreme poverty, drug addiction and abuse. Once they grow up, they're forced to leave care, find a job and start supporting themselves. Yet the problems of their past, lack of family support and insufficient financial resources make this almost impossible. Many end up right back where they started - on the streets.

The Colour of Hope's youth reintegration work helps these young adults at this crucial stage, enabling them to find their feet, become part of their community and find dignified employment. It also provides business training and microfinance opportunities for those who want to set up small businesses and enterprises.

Alan La Rue, founder and director of WebSpanish, said, "I'm delighted to be able to partner with The Colour of Hope NGO to help these former street children in Peru. It has given us the opportunity to give something back to the community and I know the money will go exactly where it's needed."

WebSpanish, offering Spanish language classes online, was developed by a team of highly qualified Spanish language instructors at El Sol Spanish Language School. El Sol is one of a select group of Spanish language schools in Peru approved by the Peruvian Ministry of Education, and has been helping students learn Spanish in Lima Peru since 2002.

The WebSpanish corporate sponsorship will allow The Color of Hope to extend its community work to more disadvantaged young people in Peru, providing them with much needed emotional, social and financial support. For more information about the charity and its work please visit The Colour of Hope Blog or write to

*The Trustees recently submitted an application for registered charity status, which will likely be granted by the UK Charity Commission within the next few weeks.

The Colour of Hope
Amy New


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Second group of project participants respond well to life-skills training

It has now been just over one month since we started training the second group of project participants. They are all responding very well to the training and have covered the following life-skills topics so far:

1) Adapting to life outside the care home (1 session)

2) Free time (5 sessions - activities you can do in your free time, the importance of free time, limitations, drugs and alcohol, relationships)

3) Budgets and savings (4 sessions – financial problems, budgets, savings, bank accounts)

4) Employment and opportunities (3 sessions – forms of employment, areas of work, factors that influence your chances of finding work)

In addition to the group training sessions, Angelica and Bilela have been learning some computer skills. They’ve become much more
proficient with the mouse and keyboard and now know how to open Word, save documents and then open them again. We’ve helped them both to set up their own email accounts and they now know how to write, send and receive emails, as well as add contacts to their address books.

As well as continuing training with the second group, throughout April we shall be selecting the third group of young people, ready for them to begin training in May. We still need to find sponsors for at least 3 members of this next group, so please get in touch if you think you can help, or would like more information about our young person sponsorship programme.

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Colour of Hope receives another round of donations thanks to American Expats

We’ve had plenty more donations these last couple of weeks. Karie, from the USA, has given us a whole truck full of household items, some of which have helped to furnish our training centre, and others which will slowly be distributed amongst the project participants.

One of the beds will be going to Angelica and her family, who currently share a single bed between two adults and two children (see picture). Another will go to Abraham, along with a chest of drawers, when he leaves care in a couple of weeks.

Jason, also from the USA, has now not only donated us a computer, but also 3 bags full of office supplies and equipment! These will come very much in handy for the next few groups of young people.

Thank you Jason and Karie for your immense generosity and ongoing support.

We constantly need the following
items for the young people's accommodation and our microfinance projects, so if anyone else can help, please get in touch:

* Computers (computadoras)
* Printer (impresora)
* Projector (retro/multi proyector)
* Beds & bedding (colchones, tarimas, frazadas, sábanas, almohadas etc.)
* Clothes for young people (ropa para jóvenes)
* Kitchen appliances & utensils (electrodomésticos, loza, vajilla etc.)
* Any items that would be useful to young people setting up small businesses, e.g. electrical equipment, counters, shelving, tools, tills etc.

Thank you very much for your support.

Amy New, The Colour of Hope Director, 90336722,

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Colour of Hope’s microcredit scheme helps families escape the poverty trap

Most of The Colour of Hope’s work with our project participants is conducted at the training centre. But occasionally we visit the participants where they are living or they take us to meet their families. This is an important element of the work because it enables us to get to know the young people better and see firsthand the backgrounds they are coming from.
Some of the participants live independently because there is either some reason why they cannot live with their families or because they are orphans and have nowhere else to go. Others live with friends or godparents and a few go back to their families.

Last weekend I visited Hugo and Natali’s home, as well as Natali’s sister, Angelica. They all live in
Canto Grande, a shanty town on the outskirts of Lima. Their living conditions are very primitive and sadly typical of most shanty town homes – no running water, no drainage, just one kerosene stove between them all and both
families each struggling to share a single bed.

Yet despite their desperate situation, both families hold their heads up high, proud of the little they’ve got and fighting against all odds to bring in enough money to feed their children. The support they are receiving from The Colour of Hope is helping to lift some of this weight from their shoulders, and our microcredit scheme will eventually help them to improve their living conditions and escape the poverty trap.

Hugo is working hard on the budget for his shop, as well as beginning to level the land where it will be built. This is by no means easy – it involves literally hacking into the mountainside to break up the rocks and boulders (see photo).

Angelica, who lives on the other side of the mountain, will probably be setting up a shop too, although she is not as far into her training as Hugo, so plans may change.

Natali is doing extremely well at her Wall textiles placement, despite her son Luis’s accident a few weeks ago, and her own ill health. Her supervisor and fellow workers say she has a real talent for the work.

Luis is still recovering well from the accident at his nursery and is looking much stronger thanks to the special diet and vitamin supplements funded by his parents’ sponsors, Jess and Rosa Batten-Stevens from Ottery St Mary.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Easysearch Version 2.0 has arrived!

The brand new version of charity search engine, Easysearch, is now live and ready for you to use!

When you search the web with Easysearch Version 2.0, you'll still raise around 1p for The Colour of Hope with every search you make, but the Easysearch team has made some important improvements which have greatly enhanced the quality of their service.

Easysearch Version 2.0 is a now 'super' search engine, which combines the strengths of several search providers together - Yahoo!, MSN Live Search, and many more. So, when you use easysearch to search the web, it will track down only the most relevant and accurate results, which means you'll find what you are looking for quickly and easily every time - all in one 'easy' search!

They've also made some changes to the design, so you can now see how many searches have been made by all The Colour of Hope supporters and how much has been raised so far, directly from our Easysearch Homepage.

Happy searching everyone!