My life as a volunteer at La Casa de Panchita (by Soile Puranen)

I have been volunteering at La Casa de Panchita since June 2014 and now at the end of November my time as a volunteer is running out. The schools will end by Christmas and then for them it is time for summer holidays. So this is a perfect time to reflect on my time here.

I love my life in Lima and yes, sometimes I hate it. Everyone who has ever lived abroad knows that there are so many things that start to annoy you when you are not in your home country. (Well, there are a lot of things that annoy me when I am in my home country as well, but that is another story.)

There are things I really don’t understand, for example why on earth the taxis and other drivers need to hunk the car horns all the time??? They also seem to do it more when I have a headache! Our work at schools with children is not always a dance on a bed of roses. Well, actually it is, just sometimes there are more thorns than roses! But then there are so many amazing things that these minor annoyances disappear in the background. When the combi driver decides to be the nicest person on earth or when the child who has been really difficult for weeks decides to collaborate with you and do the math tasks that you are trying to teach him. And so many more examples!

One thing that makes my life so much easier are the amazing people who are volunteering, working or doing their internship at La Casa de Panchita. I don’t know what I would do without you!

During these months that I have been volunteering at La Casa de Panchita I have been lucky to get to know many different aspects of this amazing NGO. I have been working with children in all our locations in San Juan de Miraflores and Jesús Maria. I have been attending night schools (CEBA) around Lima where young adults go to schools. I have been doing workshops at La Casa de Panchita with wonderful women and I have been helping out at la agencia (the employment agency at La Casa de Panchita). I have also had a chance to work with various office tasks from updating excels with information of children to helping out on planning our future fundraising. All this I was able to do and I started with a really, really bad level of Spanish. Peruvians are amazingly patient with your rubbish Spanish. After almost 6 months luckily my Spanish is slightly better and I can make complete sentences now and I think sometimes they are correct so I suppose it is at least a little easier for Peruanos to actually understand, not just guess, what I am trying to say.

I don’t have enough words to thank all my co-workers, children, ladies and everyone I have come across during my time in Lima! I hope you know you will always be in my heart no matter how many years will pass and no matter where I am <3.

As you probably can understand this experience has been profound for me in many ways. I have learned so many things and I do hope I have been able to give back at least a little bit. I highly recommend for everyone to consider volunteering, preferably a bit longer than just few weeks since then you have the time to get to know people and the country properly.

My sincerest hope is that La Casa de Panchita is able to continue its amazing work that it has been doing for already 25 years. Things change very slowly but they do change! This is why we need to keep on working. To make this happen we also need your help. At the moment lots of European organisations are cutting out their funding to Peru since, according to World Bank, Peru is economically in better situation than before. This might be true in general level but unfortunately this cannot really be noticed in all areas e.g. where we work.

When we do get funding from organisations, they mostly support our projects and not any administrational costs e.g. electricity, Internet, maintenance at La Casa de Panchita. These costs we need to collect somewhere else. This is why I am asking, or begging if you wish, for you help.

No donations are too small or too big, so please donate now! The greatest idea is to get a group of people to donate a little and at the end it is a lot!

Here are the links where you can make your donations:

In English

In Spanish

In Finnish

Any questions or comments??? Please let me know (

laura, adalid y yo at nazareno

(From left to right) Adalid, Soile and Laura at a school in San Juan de Miraflores

  1. Soile, thank you to your sincere and warm words, and for all the support you still gives to us (travel to Finland will be in some days). Un abrazo! Blanca

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