Toys for Tugusa
Organized by: Rachael Claudio
EVENT DATE Sep 02, 2014
My sister, Hannah Claudio, joined the Peace Corps after graduating from Cornell University last year. She is living in Tugusa, Peru which is small village located in the Andes Mountains of northern Peru----26 hours from Lima. She recently started a project working with 30 moms and their children under the age of three. Research has shown that the first three years are the most important in a child’s life. It is during this time that the brain is developed and the foundation for future health, growth and development is determined. During this stage of life children should be playing and exploring their world absorbing as much information as possible.
The UN recently came out with a report estimating that 200 million children in countries like Peru will not reach their full developmental potential by the time they are five years old. Out of the 30 children under three that Hannah is currently working with not one can correctly identify colors or count to ten. Most of these children have never touched a puzzle, held a doll and won’t encounter a book until they enter primary school. Children are often left to sit in the grass for most of the day while their parents work to grow the food they eat. They reach the age of five having missed so many critical developmental milestones that they will never match the academic potential of their peers.
Hannah, with three Peruvian counterparts are working to change this reality in Tugusa. Once a week, they visit each child at his or her home for a session of early childhood stimulation. The project has been amazing thus far. The moms are eager to learn how they can help their child develop to his or her full potential and the children take full advantage of the undivided attention they are given. However, resources such as books and toys are lacking in Tugusa. Hannah is often forced to make rattles out of old water bottles or boxes out of paper. Families are generally subsistence farmers who earn no income and therefore do not have money to buy toys for their children. After spending a year in Peru, Hannah is returning to the states for three weeks to attend our brother’s wedding. It would mean so much to her to return to Tugusa with resources to help the children she is working with learn and develop. Any amount you can give will go a long way in the life of a child in Tugusa.