The first Christmas at NPH Peru
Fifteen years ago, on the 10th of December, the first child arrived at our NPH home in Peru, 8-year-old Elvis Huaripata. He was soon joined by 12 other children who also needed a loving home. Together, they celebrated their first Christmas together with a special dinner, mass at the local cathedral and a small gift from Santa. Fifteen years later, Elvis is now 23, studying law at university and looking forward to another Christmas with his NPH family.
Elvis grew up in extreme poverty with his mum. She wasn’t around a lot and didn’t look after him properly. One day she left town and abandoned him. Elvis’ aunty tried to find a family who could care for him – that’s when she came across NPH.
Elvis says, “NPH was a gift from God for me. When I arrived here I could go to school for the first time and be a happy kid.” Growing up as part of the NPH family Elvis has stayed in close contact with his biological family, while making the most of his opportunities.
Elvis says, “This year Christmas is going to be very different. No one expected this pandemic to happen and it’s really changed all our plans. This Christmas we’ll be praying for everyone who has died and for those who are struggling to stay alive. I think it’s important this Christmas to take time to reflect on what’s important in life.”
Now a young adult on his way to completing a law degree, Elvis has come a long way from that shy, illiterate boy who first entered our home. This year Elvis has been taking his university classes online. He has returned from Lima to our NPH home in Cañete to help the younger kids.
Elvis says, “This year hasn’t been very productive for me because a lot of my plans have changed. I was hoping to do my practicum, but it hasn’t been possible.”
Elvis realises that the younger kids are finding the situation more difficult than himself, “They haven’t been to school all year. They’ve been home-schooling within our home. So I can imagine that they are finding it quite stressful.”
These are the quarantine measures imposed by the Peruvian Government, as they’ve had to deal with over 975,000 cases of Covid19. It’s likely that the real number of cases is much higher than this as many parts of the country don’t have access to accurate testing.
Sadly, Peru has experienced at least 35,000 deaths from Covid19, including some of the relatives of our children and staff members. The economic crisis has hit the poor and vulnerable hardest. For families who rely on informal work to survive, this year has been particularly difficult. Those without bank accounts and tax numbers are unable to receive any Government help. These are the people who need the most support.
In response to the dire need in our communities, our NPH family has been busy sending food packages and financial aid to struggling families. Sharing is one of the key values that we teach the kids at NPH. Being the first NPH Peru kid, Elvis is very aware of his responsibility to help others. “Christmas is a time to be thankful for what we have and to share with others,” he says.
With his eye on the future as he continues on his path to success, Elvis will never forget the help that NPH has given him. Elvis says to all our donors, “I would like to thank you for your incredible support for us. I’m eternally grateful for you. I send you a big hug from afar and wish you a Merry Christmas.”
Thank you for helping us bring the joy of Christmas to many vulnerable children and families in Peru at this challenging time.
Check out our NPH Christmas Gifts to give children in Peru some much needed Christmas cheer!