WWU project focuses on orphans in Peru

Peruvian orphan Fran Erico, left, lost the use of his hands. His neighbor cannot care for him.

Peruvian orphan Fran Erico, left, lost the use of his hands. His neighbor cannot care for him.

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COLLEGE PLACE — Abandoned children in Checacupe, Peru, have more to look forward to now that a new orphanage is being planned with the To Build a Home project.

Each year the Associated Students of Walla Walla University selects a project focused on helping others.

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For this year’s project ASWWU has pledged to build the orphanage. Students are rallying to raise the approximately $100,000 needed for the construction of the orphanage and for ongoing operating expenses.

ASWWU’s project last school year was Mission Mozambique, which provided sustainable water sources there.

The students are inspired and encouraged by the success of that project.

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Kiana Myers

“It’s a big goal,” said Kiana Myers, ASWWU fundraising manager, “but last year the goal was $60,000 and we raised $86,000, so $100,000 is absolutely doable.”

Myers, a sophomore, is exploring a degree in international rescue and relief, so this is a logical project for her talents.

“This project came to us, Peru came to us,” she said. “They heard we do big projects. They heard we’d worked on the Mozambique project. It was through Engineers Without Borders. Through them the Peruvian group came to our engineering team, who came to us and suggested the project.”

The orphanage will be called Mosacc Wasi, meaning “New Home” in the ancient Incan language of Quechua, spoken in that region of Peru. The location has a lot of positives going for it.

“The Pan American Highway is just outside that area,” Myers said. “So there are plenty of travelers. There’s also a school close by. They will have a greenhouse to help them provide food and there’s a river that goes through the complex.”

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Logan Villarreal

WWU students will establish the Mosacc Wasi project in this valley in Peru.

“Each home can accommodate 12 children so this project will provide for 24 children,” she said.

“There are orphans everywhere and problems everywhere. You have to start somewhere so we picked a place and we started,” she said. “You see problems and you acknowledge one and start working on it.”

Myers said students have gotten a good response from local businesses in support of the project. They’re also seeking contributions elsewhere.

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Jaci Shankel

“We are branching out to our home churches,” said Jaci Shankel, junior, public relations, history and business.

Since many of the students are from other areas, they can access a larger contributor base from their hometowns.

“We’re hoping to have $100,000 by early June,” said Myers.

The project then moves into the construction phase, which will run from June through September.

“We’re building two family homes, two family units,” she said.

Following construction, steps will be taken to ensure that the orphanage will continue to operate.

WWU students in a project management class are creating a five-year business and sustainability plan to direct orphanage finances for the beginnings of the operation.

The school and orphanage will remain in close contact.

“It would be irresponsible to build an orphanage and then leave,” said Myers.

A series of fundraising events open to everyone are on deck.

Fundraising events

› April 4: Bonfire and hot dog barbecue, 5 p.m., Walla Walla Valley Academy

› April 9: ASWWU Confab letter-writing campaign

› April 21: Switchfoot concert

› May 11; Color Run 5K run. Participants wear white and get colored powder thrown at them.

› May 11-18: Fundraising Week

› May 18: International Food Fair, Rogers Field on Fourth Street, College Place

“Some carry-over from year to year. We have the International Food Fair each year,” she said. “The rest were the result of brainstorming ideas.”

“I hope to go down there,” she said. “I’m eager to meet the kids.

Karlene Ponti is the U-B specialty publications writer. She can be reached at 509-526-8324 or karleneponti@wwub.com.

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