WEEK #84 How are we doing? 99%RIDE DONATES TO MANOS UNIDAS!

It was a difficult ride to Cusco, Peru. The mountains were high, the air thin and the temperatures low. But I had to make it on time. The foundation “Manos Unidas” (“Joined Hands”) was almost going to close for the holidays, and I had to be there and visit them before it was too late.

P1090941_Fotor_CollageManos Unidas is a private/non-profit school for special education. They want to improve the life of individuals with development disabilities and provide the necessary education, help and opportunities.

Luck was on my side; I made it on time and was able to visit the project for two days. Short, intense and inspiring. Don’t forget fun, I was laughing the whole time I was there!
When I arrived Laura, the coordinator of the foundation, and Mercedes, one of the two founders, greeted me. There was one person I also wanted to meet but was unavailable due to important work for the foundation, Celeste, the main fundraiser and one of the initiators of the foundation. I was able to speak to her later though, through a Skype meeting.

Laura showed me around and answered the many questions I had about the foundation. On day two, I was most enthusiastic about what I had seen. The latest program Manos Unidas had set-up, the “Phawarispa Program” (“We Run Together” in Quechua language), was inaugurated last September and was promising to be very effective.logo huella pie
Phawarispa is the first transition and work training program for young adults & adolescents with special needs in Cusco. Students are educated and prepared for work in hotel, restaurant and gardening services. At the school they have rooms customized for this program. Housekeeping & hotel services, cooking, (organic) gardening and also vocational training are preparing the students to work side-by-side with local employers.
The program also offers community awareness for parents, family members, community members and employers. Partnerships are made with local employers and include training sessions and workshops on disability awareness, rights and strategies to work with students that have different abilities.
It is unfortunate to see that in Peru, as well as other Latin American countries, children born with a disability or handicap are often seen as something bad, as a mistake from the parents or a punishment from God. The people in their surroundings don’t understand what Down Syndrome or autism is, for example, and that the children can still learn, play and lead a very normal life, too.

Manos Unidas is helping these children, but also helping, teaching and showing the community and family around them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with these children and they have to be treated equally. They too, have the possibility to become contributing members to the their families and the society.
Manos Unidas is truly a great foundation with clear goals and a meaningful duty.

P109094099%RIDE is proud to announce that we have made a donation to the Manos Unidas Foundation. The donation will be used for their latest program, the Phawarispa Program, to help them fund materials, utilities & important investments and repairs for their current school building. The funds will be used throughout the year 2015 to ensure everything is working correctly and the students and teachers are able to learn and teach in a proper work environment.

99%RIDE would like to thank all its donors and supporters for making this possible. Without your contribution we wouldn’t have been able to help such an inspiring and life-changing foundation as Manos Unidas.

I would personally like to thank Laura, Mercedes, Celeste and all the staff for all their time, effort and help showing me around Manos Unidas. It was a very short visit, yet an incredibly inspiring one. I wish you all the best and hope to visit you again in the future.

From La Paz, Bolivia,

Dirk Spits

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