Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Welcome Gathering for our Fourth Group of Young People

Yesterday afternoon, six of the young people who have already completed their training got together with our two psychologists, Juan Pineda and Eduardo Cabos, and me (Project Director) to welcome four new project participants to The Colour of Hope.

José Trinidad, José Luís, Katherine and Tany, from San Francisco de Asís and Reina de la Paz care homes, will be starting their training phase on Thursday. Despite initial shyness, they seemed to enjoy themselves very much yesterday, and listened carefully to what their peers had to say.

Hugo, Natali, Abraham, Bilela, Edinson and Gaby gave an insight into the problems they came across when they left care and the ways in which they went about solving them. Their comments served as very pertinent advice to the new group, as well as testimonies that there is "light at the end of the tunnel" and that difficulties can often be overcome, even they seem impossible at first.

More news about the new group's progress coming soon.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Colour of Hope Chair's Report

3rd October 2008

LIMA - It has proved a wonderful experience for me to travel out to Lima this month to see The Colour of Hope's work first hand. I have been able to monitor what is happening at grassroots level and to assess what might be needed in the future.

I am very pleased to report that the charity's youth reintegration project, "Action for Independence" is being extremely well run. It is obvious that a great deal of careful thought and planning have gone into it and it is now paying off. Over the weeks that I have been here I have been able to meet most of the young people we are supporting. It has been a pleasure to be able to put a face to a name at last and to see just how much they are benefitting from our help.

Our Project Director, Amy New, has been particularly stretched this month, dealing with teething problems with Hugo and Angelica's grocery shops, as well as helping Gabriela to set up her market stall - not to mention accompanying Edinson and Bilela to obtain the necessary paperwork before any formal job applications can be made. Getting papers here is not a simple affair and it calls to mind most vividly Dickens' Circumlocution Office. Having accompanied Amy in this, I have realised just how much time she spends travelling miles across Lima and waiting for people to turn up. The work can, at times, be very rewarding, but a lot of the time it is stressful and frustrating by its very nature.

After being here a month, it is very clear to me that Amy needs more help with the daily running of the charity as she is stretched at the moment and intends starting with another group of young people very shortly. I am also strongly recommending that the charity takes active steps to affiliate itself with another organisation doing similar work. In light of this, we have been networking with contacts here in Lima and I am happy to report that Amy is now receiving support from two psychologists. They will be helping her with some of the training sessions for the new group, as well as providing much needed psychiatric help to the young people. Three volunteers have also come forward from our contact with the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre. Thank you friends! We are also hoping that local funding will be forthcoming to pay project staff and to help our single mothers with childcare.

I am leaving Peru with some appalling memories - of sprawling squalor in the shanty towns, of being escorted up and down a mountain to avoid being robbed when visiting Natali, Hugo and Angelica, of street violence and choking traffic fumes. Yet because Peru is a country of contradictions and extremes, I also leave with wonderful memories of people who, in spite of having nothing, are happy and smiling, of people who dance when there is nothing to dance about, and of kindness and love shown by strangers who welcomed me as family.

Margaret Stevens

U.S.-born global financial crisis metastasized: Peru’s year-end inflation expected to top 7.6 percent

Peru's average national inflation rate is expected to rise well beyond the Central Bank's set goal of 2 percent to a decade-high of 7.6 percent by the end of 2008, according to Lima's Chamber of Commerce, or CCL.

Imported inflation, which occurs when imported raw or partly-finished goods become more expensive, often as a result of currency depreciation, no longer drives inflation in Peru. According to the CCL, 75 percent of inflation is due to internal factors, such as a greater internal demand for goods.

“Before, external factors were the most important component of inflation,” CCL Economic Institute’s Director, César Peñaranda, told daily La Republica. “But now, they have reduced the prices of food and oil. The Central Bank’s measures are good and couldn’t be any more forceful because that would complicate the economy.”

Peru’s average national inflation rate for the first eight months of this year registered at 4.7 percent, beyond the Central Bank’s set goal of 2 percent, and rose slightly from 0.56 percent in July to 0.59 percent in August. Consumer prices rose 0.57 percent in September, and transportation costs have surged.

But, Peru’s Central Bank, who in August lifted deposit requirements for borrowers in an attempt to control inflationary pressures, has yet to budge on its benchmark interest rate fixed at 6.5 percent.

“This decision is based on the high level of uncertainty concerning the world economy’s evolution and the impact it will have on global economic activity, our exports and imports’ international prices as well as the international financial flows,” said a representative of the Central Bank Thursday after a monthly monetary policy meeting.

“We must emphasize that recently prices have fallen for raw material and oil, that imported food prices tend to fall, and that this favors the gradual reduction of inflation in the country.”

Article courtesy of the Peruvian Times.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Update on The Colour of Hope's Star Fundraisers

The Colour of Hope's star fundraisers for 2008, Jess and Rosa Batten-Stevens from Ottery St Mary, Devon, are still going strong with their fundraising campaign. A very generous donation has just raised their total to an amazing £1350!

The girls have won 5 firsts and one third prize so far, and still have a few carnivals left to go. If you happen to be in the South West, do look out for them at Exmouth carnival tomorrow evening, or log on to The Midweek Herald's Carnival Capers blog for carnival photos, videos and news.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The Colour of Hope Microcredit Scheme Success

Back in July, The Colour of Hope microcredit scheme helped two of our project participants, Hugo and Angelica, to set up their own grocery shops. Both shops are now up and running and looking good. They are giving both families a steady source of income which goes a long way towards keeping their children healthy and in school. Many thanks to Hugo and Angelica's sponsors for all their support.