In our visit to Ayacucho, Peru, I think we found one of the most efficient charity organizations ever. Prior to our decision to travel full time, we helped raise money for several passions of ours over the years including Type 1 Diabetes, Movember, the children of St Anthony’s School, and local churches.
When working to get people to donate their hard-earned money, the common question is in regards to how efficient the charity is. Well, if you are interested in helping worthy people and have money you want to donate to a good cause, you should consider the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund– the donations are extremely focused and the success of the efforts are extraordinary.
Here is the story on how we stumbled upon one of the most efficient Non-For-Profit organizations ever and how the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund is helping impoverished young women find a new path in life by providing the opportunity to receive an education, in order to give them hope for a brighter future.
When we were originally putting together our plan to visit South America, it was extremely important to visit an area that had a popular Easter tradition. After doing deep research and knowing the region would be in Chile, Peru, or Ecuador, we decided that Ayacucho was where we wanted to be for the 2017 Easter Celebration.
We were about six months from our trip at that time and it was still extremely difficult to find a good place to stay based on high occupancy rates for one of the most popular Easter celebrations in South America. I decided to roll the dice and wait until we got closer to the date to find a place to stay. We still did not know the duration of our trip because we had not confirmed our timing of our Cusco and Machu Picchu visits. Staying flexible was important as well as keeping the costs down.
We were about 4 weeks from Easter and still nothing. We attempted and failed at getting a WorkAway gig lined up. There were no Airbnb’s available and the hostels were full. I was getting extremely nervous that it might not come together. I began my social connecting research (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter) to see if there was anyone that might be able to help me in Ayacucho.
After a few days of effort, I found a 2nd Level connection on Linkedin that had Ayacucho in her profile description based on a non-for-profit she ran out of Chicago. I reached out to her explaining our situation and desire to visit Ayacucho for the holiday week, also detailing our skill set and want to donate time/money to the community if possible.
Jillian Hirsch responded in great detail of her love for Ayacucho, information about her non-for-profit Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund, ideas on how we might help, and two connections she had in the town that might be able to assist us, including the head Mother of the city orphanage and the lead in the non-for-profit.
I took action on her response immediately and reached out to her connections explaining our story and desire to help. The head Mother of Puericultorio Juan Andrés Vivanco Amorìn gave us a time frame to visit the orphanage and the lead organizer, María Luisa, worked her magic to get us a room at a great hotel in town. Prayers answered!
Visiting Ayacucho was such a great trip. The Easter Week celebrations were at a different level than we had ever experienced. Check out the post on one of the most Popular Easter Traditions in South America to see the details. The time at the Puericultorio Juan Andrés Vivanco Amorìn orphanage was joyful and memorable. Because they are extremely well organized with a talented staff and volunteers as well as being strict with the children’s daily schedule, there was limited help that we could assist within our short time in Ayacucho.
After discussing what ‘fun stuff’ the kids might want, we purchased several balls (soccer, basketball, volleyball), play doh, playing blocks, and formula for the babies which was necessary because of the high cost. The expression on the faces of the children was priceless as they tossed the balls around and gave constant high fives.
With the festivities of Semana Santa (Holy Week) taking the time of the locals, we finally ended up getting the chance to have dinner with María Luisa (local organizer for the charity) on the day before we were leaving. We love visiting the homes of locals to get a true sense of how they live day to day.
This was even more special knowing how she helped us and her role with the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund. That said, I had no idea how important her role was and to what level she took her duties. Over the course of a few hours, we had the chance to dig into details of how the non-for-profit operated and dive into how the numbers worked out.
The level of detail in María Luisa’s accountability for the young women was extraordinary! They are building responsibility throughout the process and the young women get the opportunity to understand how they are affected by the gift of someone else.
This is an important factor in building achievement as described in the recommended book Toxic Charity – “Little affirms human dignity more than honest work. One of the surest ways to destroy self-worth is subsidizing the idleness of able-bodied people. Work is a gift, a calling, a human responsibility.”
Without getting too far into the financials, I had a chance to look at the numbers and there is not a penny unaccounted, every expense is noted and signed off by the girls, and the staff is paid very little to organize and run the operation. There are books full of photos, receipts, achievements, and goals. I was blown away by the efficiency of the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund.
Through the course of the dinner, we heard María Luisa’s personal story and how the love of Ayacucho is deep in her heart. At a few times over the past 50 years, because of political issues, many people have fled the city. María Luisa has stuck through those tough times and stayed in the city she loved. During some of those exodus periods, children were left behind with no parents.
The orphanage was a bi-product of these trying times. She has helped with the orphanage for many years, including helping the children get adopted from parents from around the world. María was so excited to share letters and photos from the children and families that had been adopted years ago.
Her passion for the cause was inspiring. The same young women that she is helping with the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund are products of the orphanage. It is uplifting to know they have a chance to beat the circumstances they have been dealt with because of many people’s sacrifices.
We had the chance to meet one of the young women who is part of the program. She was happy to tell me she was in school for architectural engineering and that she would be graduating soon. She was focused and determined to make a difference in the world. She was surprised and grateful that we had chosen to visit Ayacucho for the Easter celebration. Needless to say, she thought my height was pretty funny 😉
Whenever you make your financial decisions to donate to important causes, please keep the Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund in mind. The cause is important, the benefactors are appreciative – video -> https://youtu.be/36d-Un9oyC4 , and it is one of the most efficient charity organizations that you will ever donate to.
Daughters of Ayacucho Educational Fund (DAEF) was granted IRS tax-exempt 501(c)3 status in July, 2007. The DAEF Board of Directors is comprised of seven professionals with varying backgrounds in social work, economics, education, and not-for-profits.
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