How does one explain the notion of solidarity? Why is it important that people walk in solidarity with others? How do we, as Canadians, accompany the men and women who have dedicated their lives to working with the poorest of the poor in their own Peruvian communities?

During Heart-Links’ last monitoring trip, in September 2017, we asked our Peruvian friends and partners these very questions. And they responded with some very inspiring answers:

To me the word solidarity is more than anything else, a feeling. That feeling that’s inside everybody but is perhaps more developed in some than others. Because sometimes solidarity is confused with friendship. And solidarity is much more than that. It’s what you give, often without expecting any return, any compensation. There’s a sense of empathy, that we feel comfortable coming closer as brothers and sisters. That this strengthens us, and this strength enables us to do many more things, knowing that this is a shared effort, that we are accepted, accompanied, that we are brothers and sisters. For me, personally, that fills me, that satisfies me.

—Delicia Romero, Zaña team

Solidarity has to do with the common good. I mean, this principle revolves around the idea that I am not alone in the world, and that what is mine is not mine but everyone else’s. There is a connection: that there is a principle greater than individualism, greater than oneself as a person. So always remember to think that together we are more and that there is a greater principle at work than my economic stability or self-benefit. We should always be thinking about others, about a common good, a good that is common, that belongs to many. What is mine is not only mine but everyone’s, belongs not even just to my family, but to all humanity. It is like a common principle. I think it’s very much related to solidarity.

— Nathalia Quintero, volunteer with Rural Libraries Network

We also asked Flor Reaño and María Elena Zapata, of Latidos:

Because of time constraints, we were not able to interview all our partners, but we have put together a short film (15 min) that shows some of the work these committed men and women do and the kind of life-changing initiatives Heart-Links supports.