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Friday, April 13, 2012

It's all happening in Arequipa

I just waited for a cup of drip coffee in a cafe where I was the only customer, for 10 minutes.

Things take a long time in Peru.

Something that has been in the works for a long time, over a year, has finally happened at TNT. We are separating into two organizations and starting a new NGO, which will be called Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru (HOOP). It's going to officially happen in two months, but it's happening!

HOOP is going to run Flora Tristan English School, our community leadership program, and any other programs we decide to run in the future. TNT will run the Casa Hogar Luz Alba orphanage and will continue to work with Pachawawas to raise money for the orphanage.

We're really excited because we're now going to have the freedom to develop our community program however the community needs us to, and get the NGO/school staffed enough so that we can run as efficiently as possible. We are creating a sustainable and project-focused NGO, as opposed to the way it was before which was unsustainable and volunteer-focused. We are leaps and bounds ahead of where NGOs usually start, since we already have a program running and a staff and group of volunteers to run it, but we are going to need some serious money quickly and there is SO much to learn. The founders of TNT are going to use the office furniture and computers, some furniture from our house, and anything else they invested in when they started TNT to start their new organization, so we'll need to buy new things. We get to keep our office and our volunteer house, but our volunteer traffic will go down, and we need donations to buy supplies and stay up and running. They will need to find an office, as well as hire a new volunteer coordinator and administrator since ours (Priya and Carmen) are going to be working for HOOP. As soon as there is a way to donate to HOOP, other than through this blog (just tell me you want it to go to HOOP instead of me), I will tell you. The website is launched but not quite ready for public viewing yet.

The majority of my job over the next 5 months will probably be fundraising and promoting our new NGO. Very exciting! I thought I was working with a young organization before...! I will keep you all informed about fundraisers I am putting on and if I get HOOP published anywhere. In the next 5 months we will be working on "small" fundraisers (100s and 1000s of dollars), and then when our community diagnostic is done, we will present it to big organizations, banks, and governments to try to get funding.

We were actually going to name the organization Abriendo Puertas or Opening Doors, but there were too many NGOs named that already. HOOP was my idea! I'm excited to be so deeply involved in the creation of an NGO, and excited to see what direction this takes us in. If we discover what the community really needs is medical care or gang violence prevention and not English classes, we will change our projects or create new ones to accomodate that. It feels like we're operating with more integrity to be creating something based on people's needs, not just stabbing in the dark with the only tools we have.

Reporting from the scene with all the news on the developing situation,

And since I don't have any photos related to this, here's one of me, Enrique (former development/school coordinator who has since left) and Priya (friend/boss/all-around champion for this new NGO) at a concert in February.