Project Peru

Project Peru: Student Reflection

Project Peru is an expedition carried out annually by 30 Sixth Form students and staff from St John's School, Bishop Auckland and which began in 2009. Each year we work in partnership with the local community to carry out a building project and to date we have built classrooms, food kitchens, a bakery for training young people as well as facilities for people with disabilities. Having been fortunate to take part in this project I can sincerely say how vital and integral such a trip has been both to my own faith as well as that of my peers, and is something that has had a profound impact on my life. Seeing the hunger, poverty and injustice in Iquitos raised challenging questions regarding the fairness of the distribution of the world’s wealth and made us question ways in which we could put our faith into action in order to build communities of justice. Furthermore, seeing the joy, love and - in my opinion -  God in the faces of the children who stayed at the oasis of happiness that is the children centre we visited on a daily basis was incredible and it was clear to all that something special was happening there.

The children have enriched my life in ways unmatched; their loving, accepting nature is one I believe should be adopted by the rest of the world. Seeing just how eager the local people were to learn from us as well as teach us their own ways and seeing how grateful they were for our help was simply overwhelming, these people were struggling and without a lot of what we have in the West, however their lives were so enriched by the values of family and God that they didn’t seem fazed. Everyone who is given the chance to meet these amazing people is truly, truly blessed. Project Peru is not about charity. It is about solidarity, justice, partnership, generosity and education. In taking small steps we aim to contribute towards greater change and something which we aim to build on throughout the rest of our lives.

Megan Hutchinson

“Strictly St John’s” is an event which started in 2011 to raise money for Project Peru. In our version of ‘Strictly’ staff and Sixth Form students take to the dance floor to compete against each other in order to win the ‘Strictly’ glitter ball. The dances range from the Cha Cha Cha to the Waltz and the Quick Step.

St John's hosted a Strictly Come Dancing competition on 16 and 17 February 2011 to raise money for a humanitarian project in Peru.

Members of staff, and some of the school's Sixth Form students paired up and battled it out on the dance floor in front of a panel of judges. Couples performed iconic dances from the show including the waltz, the foxtrot and the Argentine tango.

During the Christmas Holidays Staff and Sixth Form students from St John's packed bags at Sainsbury's and raised £1200 for Peru.

Another year's committed fundraising culminated in Project Peru 2010 in which a group of 25 Sixth Form students and 5 staff joined Joe Plumb to work in some of the most deprived areas of Lima's shanty towns.

In June 2009 a group of 30 Sixth Form students and staff from St John's Catholic School & Sixth Form Centre went out to work for two weeks in one of the shanty towns of Lima, capital of Peru.

The money raised for Project Peru 2009 was used to completely rebuild and equip a food kitchen which serves over 100 adults and children living in extreme poverty in an area called Raucana.

In June 2009 a group of 25 students and 5 staff will go out to work in one of the shanty towns on the outskirts of Lima. Through the project we will join with one of the local communities to refurbish a food kitchen which provides meals for 90 children and up to 20 elderly people each day. Without this facility these people would go hungry. We have also established a link with a school in one of the shanty towns.

Dear Parent/Carer