Last year, before COVID-19, Heart-Links began supporting the work our partner Madre Oliva Association had undertaken with adults and children in Nuevo Mocupe who have developmental disabilities. This project, funded in part by a generous grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph, provided these individuals and their families with basic nourishment, health care and life skills training. Members of Madre Oliva Association also worked with the local school and health unit to make sure people with disabilities receive appropriate attention and do not face discrimination.

By the end of the year, Madre Oliva Association reported substantial progress. The school-aged children were in school and family incomes had increased. Significantly, the follow-up project the Association submitted to Heart-Links for consideration did not include supplying food.

Then COVID-19 hit. Lockdown orders prevented many families in Peru from going out to make a living. The Peruvian government offered aid but it did not always reach the most in need.

Each of Heart-Links’ partners had to devise new ways of working with the communities they served. This meant adapting projects already underway to the new reality or developing completely new initiatives.

In Nuevo Mocupe, the families who had been working with Madre Oliva Association turned to each other for support. They practiced the same kindness and solidarity the members of Madre Oliva Association had shown them.

“Ms. María, who has stronger organizational skills than some of the others, managed to register to receive government benefits,” says Association president Delicia Romero. “When she received her food basket, she shared it with the other families.”

Three women against a colourful wall covered in hearts and handprints.
Iris Vera García, Delicia Romero Ampuero, and Cecilia Odar Mio. Delicia and Cecilia are president and vice president, respectively, of Madre Oliva Association.

Madre Oliva Association, themselves under lockdown, decided to focus their efforts on helping these families through the crisis. They submitted a new project proposal to Heart-Links that would continue the work of last year but add actions made necessary by the pandemic. These include supplying basic foods, masks and cleaning supplies, providing guidance in health and safety during COVID-19, and helping the families access government aid.

Heart-Links is proud to fund this new project.

In fact, we’ve been so impressed by the way all our partners have responded to this crisis—with creativity, perseverance and heart. We are honoured to be able to partner with such committed and caring people.

And we are grateful to all the people and organizations here in Canada who have donated to Heart-Links so that this work of building a more just world continues.