A Child’s First Christmas
At 10-years-old Rance has never experienced a happy Christmas. Growing up, he missed out on the the love of a stable family. This is the first year that Rance looks forward to celebrating Christmas, as he is now living at NPH Peru where Christmas is celebrated “in all it’s glory.”
Rance grew up in a dangerous neighbourhood in Huanaco, where he would often hear gunshots and witness violence in the streets. His home life wasn’t any better, as his alcoholic father was often abusive and threatening. When he was 5-years-old, Rance’s family completely broke down and the Peruvian court system became involved, sending Rance and his brother Marlon to a residential facility in his hometown.
Unfortunately many of the residential centres run by the Government don’t have the necessary resources to care for the children properly. According to figures from the National Integral Program for Family Welfare (INABIF), it is estimated that there are approximately 17,000 abandoned children and adolescents in Peru, currently living in residential care centres. Last year Rance was adopted into a family in Lima and there was great hope that this would be a positive change for him. Unfortunately Rance didn’t adapt well to his adoptive family and he was once again brought into a temporary government home.
In February this year, a court ruling brought Rance and his brother Marlon to our NPH Peru home, Casa Santa Rosa. For Rance coming to NPH Peru has been a fresh start, where he has adapted well, according to his caregivers. His caregivers say that Rance is a mature boy who chooses his words carefully when talking with his peers. He cares about doing his homework and is a good role model for his younger brother.
When Rance arrived at NPH Peru he felt confident and calm. He remembers meeting our National Director Rafael Arce and social worker Eddy Martinez. He instantly felt that he could trust them and that they were good people. He also says that when he arrived at Casa Santa Rosa, Director Rafael Arce and a caregiver gave him a tour of the property.
He felt safe and excited when the caregivers told him that the children were friendly and, indeed, he did make friends quickly. Rance says that at the previous residential homes where he lived, children and youth were often violent. The atmosphere was not the best and he felt anxious as the caregivers had little patience and yelled at the children. This is not the case at NPH Peru where the caregivers treat the children with great respect and the children are kind to each other, regarding each other as ‘brothers and sisters.’
Rance has settled in well at the San Antonio home, where he lives with his brother Marlon and other boys in the same age group. He has made some good friends, including some of the older kids. Rance likes to visit the farm often, where he talks about animals and plants with Sherlin, an adolescent in his year of service.
Rance feels that this Christmas will be memorable and different this year. He is excited just knowing that he will be able to spend time with his friends and caregivers, doing fun activities, such as decorating his San Antonio home. He says that he’s excited to put up so many decorations, because he’s never seen so many before.
When Rance lived with his parents, like many families living in poverty, they treated Christmas like any other day. At NPH this will be different. Rance’s friends tell him that there’s a big party and delicious dinner on Christmas Eve.
Rance doesn’t want to ask for a Christmas gift, although his friends tell him that Santa will arrive at NPH with many presents. What’s more important to Rance is that he feels safe and happy with his brother at NPH Peru. Rance will finally get the chance to experience the magic of Christmas, something every child deserves.
Rance says, “My friends told me that Christmas here at NPH is nicer than in other residences where they have been before.”