“Giving joy to a child is a blessing”

Recently two members of the 3Love Inc. team, Renzo Semorile and Juan Carlos Ugarelli, traveled to the city of Trujillo, Peru, where we were able to visit some institutions that have been carrying out activities in favor of the community, such as the Association of Residents of the Los Cedros Urbanization. There we interviewed President Danilo Stepanovich and Treasurer María Del Rosario León Abrill. We talked about the Association's current work, its future plans and its motivations to continue working in favor of those who have less.

Recently two members of the 3Love Inc. team, Renzo Semorile and Juan Carlos Ugarelli, traveled to the city of Trujillo, Peru, where we were able to visit some institutions that have been carrying out activities in favor of the community, such as the Association of Residents of the Los Cedros Urbanization. There we interviewed President Danilo Stepanovich and Treasurer María Del Rosario León Abrill. We talked about the Association’s current work, its future plans and its motivations to continue working in favor of those who have less.

 

What does the work of the Residents’ Association consist of?

 

Danilo: The work of the Association consists of the activities that we develop in our premises, but we also support the Neighborhood Mayor in some aspects, so that his work is reflected in us and for the good of the whole society, because in the community we have many problems of delinquency and I believe that it is like that in almost all Peru. We do not have the protection of the police, it is almost absent in this community.

 

Recently funds have been raised to paint and fix up the association’s premises. What can you tell us about these renovations?

 

Danilo: We have received support from both 3Love and the neighbors, we have gone house to house asking for a voluntary donation. We also have the College of Nurses and the Veterinary College in the neighborhood, as well as other health centers that have supported us with money. All the money we have raised has been invested in buying paint and labor. We have also repaired the bathrooms and the roof, which has been waterproofed to prevent water from seeping in. Also, next week we are going to have a “pollada” (Peruvian chicken dish), with a football championship in the premises and we are going to open it so that our community can see what progress has been made in almost 3 months since we were elected.

 

What kind of activities will be carried out in this renovated facility for the benefit of the neighbors?

 

María del Rosario: In our community there are many people from different professions. We are offering workshops of tai chi, yoga, art therapy, handicrafts, psychological care, prayer group, among others, so that all the people can join. We want this place to be also for them, so that they can benefit from what we can teach them. So we are opening these workshops and we hope that more people will join. That is what we want, to have more workshops for children and adults.

 

Have these workshops already been implemented?

 

Danilo: The tai chi and yoga workshops, as well as the prayer group are already running. The others will start in November.

 

Do these workshops have a cost?

 

María del Rosario: No. Everything is free.

 

Danilo: We also want the place to be used for weddings and birthdays, but also for funerals, to prevent them from being held in the street. So the place will be available for the neighbors. We are not going to charge them, but they can give a voluntary contribution or do some repair work on the premises, for example, on the roof. That is essentially what we want to do.

 

 

What are the main challenges and difficulties that occur in a community that organizes its own Residents’ Association?

 

María del Rosario: We have had some problems, because there was a previous board of directors that was there for years and they were senior citizens, so they have managed according to what they thought. Then we were elected. We want to show people that it is possible to work with transparency, that we can do workshops. I am in charge of the Treasury, anyone who comes here can ask for the documents and notebooks, we have everything up to date. We want people to believe in us again. So we are working on this little by little. We will hold a “pollada” for several reasons: to unite, to get to know each other and to show them the premises, how it is now and what else we want to do. We want this to grow. Maybe with time more projects can be implemented and more things can be done in this place, to take advantage of it.

 

How do you work together with other organizations such as hospitals and churches to carry out activities in favor of the surrounding community?

 

Danilo: We have talked with Father César Lázaro, who is the Director of the “Juan Pablo II” School, which is our neighbor. With him we are seeing what benefits the school can offer us. We have some lights that are going to be placed outside the school to light the park that is next to the soccer field and prevent it from being dark and people from elsewhere who sometimes come to sleep there. With the Father we have made this arrangement and we are going to install the lights. We are also going to change the garbage cans in the park. Afterwards, we are going to make an agreement with the College of Nurses, they are going to give us economic support so that we can continue improving the premises. And they are also going to come to the premises to carry out a health campaign, so that the neighbors can benefit from medical check-ups and vaccinations. That is what we want, that this place serves for that purpose.

What motivates you to carry out activities and projects that benefit not only the association itself, but the community in general, including low-income areas of Trujillo?

 

María del Rosario: The motivation is to see so many children who are abandoned and to see that the government or people who have economic solvency do not look around them, they only look at the place where they are. Then we have the facility to go to distant places and see the need of beaten girls, raped girls, abused girls, abandoned children, burned children. That is the reality not only in Peru, but in many countries, but in Peru the percentage is too high. It is motivating for us to see a child laughing with a toy. It is motivating to see the joy of a child or an elderly person. Sometimes you no longer have a mom and dad, because they have passed away, and on behalf of the parents who are in heaven, giving something to an elderly person is remembering their parents. And giving joy to a child is a blessing for us, it makes us better citizens.

 

What goals would you like to achieve in the short and medium term to be able to help more people in your community?

 

Danilo: Next year we plan to have a summer championship here with the whole community. Also, in December, we are going to go house to house to see what we can get to take to some poor places in the outskirts of Trujillo. We want to expand our goals, but we have to go little by little, see what is most essential first. We have to focus on two or three places this time.

 

What advice would you give to other civil organizations such as residents’ associations or cooperatives that are often focused only on their own benefit, but do not look at who else is in their community?

 

María del Rosario: I think the advice would be to get involved with the people around you. To know the problems of others, you have to get involved as we do. And try to be an example for others. That is why it is important to publish the cases of places where people have many needs, so that other people can also get involved and we can invite them so that they can participate as we do.

 

Danilo: When we had a meeting with the priest, he told us: “I congratulate you, this is the first directive that comes to be present, we hope for success and that Los Cedros will be the first urbanization to set an example in Trujillo”. That is what we are looking for and that is how it is going to be.

 

By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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