Los Cachorros and orphanage tourism, is there a connection?
In recent times there has been regular negative attention in newspapers and magazines about orphanages in developing countries. For example, children would only be placed in orphanages to lure volunteers who contribute money to help their children’s families and families subsequently earn their living. It would not be about being, but about children of poor families who take care of their income in this way.
What about at Los Cachorros?
The shelter of Los Cachorros is in Ayacucho in Peru. Ayacucho was the place from which the Shining Path began its guerrilla struggle against the Peruvian government in the 80s and 90s. Many families in Ayacucho have been disrupted by this struggle and many are struggling with war traumas. There is a lot of domestic violence and the use of alcohol and drugs is relatively high. As a result, many children can not grow up under normal circumstances.
On the one hand, Los Cachorros wants to provide first safe shelter for these children, but on the other hand it is strongly committed to reuniting the children with their families. By providing information, psychological and social support within the families, structural work is being done to improve the relationship between child and family.
Los Cachorros works with a solid core of professionals. The organization has been under the leadership of director Alanya Santa Cruz since its founding. The employees are Peruvian. If necessary expertise is scarce in Peru, think for example of child psychology, then Europe will also be recruited. A prerequisite for this is that new officials have a good command of the Spanish language.
Trainees, volunteers and attachment problems
Trainees and volunteers are also expected to speak Spanish and stay for at least six months with a preference for one year. They make only a very small part of the staff. By working with a large proportion of permanent staff, the mutations in the staff are kept as limited as possible. With this, Los Cachorros tries to prevent attachment problems in the children. This is fundamentally different than in the orphanages mentioned in the articles, where the children get to deal with other supervisors and caregivers every few weeks.
A financial contribution is expected from volunteers and trainees. We ask them to organize a collection campaign. In this way we increase the involvement of the volunteers and their environment in the work of Los Cachorros. The amount of the contribution has not been determined and depends on the individual success of the volunteer in the collection campaign. The trainee may own 50% of the own contribution within the project and the other 50% will be added to the general resources. On the whole income is a very small amount, about 3%.
Knowledge and skills
Volunteers and interns bring Los Cachorros more than their time and energy. They also bring their knowledge and skills. The staff in Ayacucho is open to this and uses that knowledge and skills to continuously improve the quality of the reception. So it is a win-win situation.
The board of Los Cachorros periodically draws up a strategic policy plan. Staff and volunteers are planning to implement the goals from this plan. So there is certainly no question of random deployment.
As a board we are convinced that we are committed to a good cause. The resources of our donors are used for more than 95% in Peru. Trainees and volunteers help on a modest scale to realize our goals on the ground. Given the way we work with them, we would not want them without them.