Notes from the Field

Peru Volunteers 2014: CAST in Pucallpa

Written by admin

Day 1:

As we enter into our fourth year of the CAST program- Construct A Structure Today- our team is growing with more help than ever. 38 volunteers from Pure Art as well as a group of Peruvians hired by the Foundation are working together to build two new homes. Sustainability is at the core of this program as we return, every year, to Pucallpa, Peru.

With every home built, our goal is to create sustainable communities and lasting relationships with the families we work with. DAY ONE began with an incredible amount of energy with all hands on deck!

We had a chance to catch up with Sadith Barboza and her six children on our first day of construction. This beautiful family will be neighbours to two new families moving into this growing community. Three of Sadith’s children are enrolled in Pure Art’s One School for All program that provides the gift of education.   

Day 2:

In the evening of Day 2, the Pure Art Team had the opportunity to meet 11 university students that have received scholarships through the Foundation. These bright young adults are passionate and determined and possess a confidence that, with hard work, their visions for the future can be achieved.

Click here to watch  as the students express the significance of a university education!

**Missing from the group is Fritz who studies Civil Engineering.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The One School for All project began with two little girls, Guadalupe and Amalia, 7 years ago, when Brigitte and Robert decided to sponsor their education. Now 17 and 19 years old, these two ambitious young women radiate an incredible determination and ambition. Amalia (left) is studying Culinary Arts & Guadalupe (right) is studying Psychology.


Day 3:

Day 3 offered incredible insight into the potential of our One School for All initiative. As 265 young boys and girls poured into the local mission to register for another school year, it became evident that the success of our 11 university students had originated in a childhood vision that education would one day transport them to a place where their aspirations could be achieved. As the day progressed, the room was filled with a buzzing energy and a beautiful pride radiating from the children, their families and the 50 volunteers of Pure Art.

We all knew that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves ; a collective knowledge that, together, something incredible could be achieved.


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100% of donations go directly to the One School for All initiative that provides financial support for school uniforms and supplies.

Day 4:

Day 4 brought us 2 hours up the Ucayali River to a Shipibo tribe in Limongema. This indigenous group to Peru are known for their intricate embroideries inspired by a personal journey through the natural world. Pure Art’s collaboration with the Shipibo is one that illustrates our vision that art, through access to global markets, can empower people to create sustainable communities.

Over 5 years, we have been working with the Shipibo artisans,  developing their skills, in order to create products that can be sold at Pure Art.

This journey brings many business challenges, from quality control to management of inventory and pricing structures. By the end of our day with the artisans, we had come to a clear understanding of what needs to be done to build a  sustainable partnership.

To see Brigitte working with the Shipibo artisans, check out this video!

For all of our photos, follow us on Flickr


Day 5:

As construction continues on DAY 5, the team is working hard to complete the final touches on the golden exterior. Many of the children from the neighbourhood are also on site working on their own masterful creations.

Co-Founders Brigitte and Robert, with a smaller group of volunteers, spent the day following up on existing projects and making plans for the future of our CAST program. The day begins with a visit to a family living in the slums of Pucallpa; a mother and her children have built a shelter from found materials. These conditions are not uncommon in this area and Pure Art is making plans to build a home for this family.


We also had a chance to check-in with families who have received CAST homes in previous years. Sustainability is key to this program; it is vital that we maintain strong relationships with the families we work with in order to ensure that the homes remain in good condition and that they fulfill the needs of the people who live in them.


We finished off the morning with a visit to the sewing center built by Pure Art in 2011. This space, offering access to sewing machines, provides workshops to women in order to develop skills that will allow them to become self-sufficient.  The level of quality of the clothing produced in the program is incredible. A sense of achievement radiates from these women, as well as a satisfaction that they can empower themselves to become entrepreneurs.


 Checking in on our third medical dispensary:

In the afternoon of Day 5, many of our volunteers headed over to a medical dispensary built 2 years ago with funds donated by Suzanne Laplante. It was a particularly busy day at the dispensary, as many of the families from the surrounding communities lined up to greet the volunteers.The number in need of medical attention was overwhelming and clearly illustrated the work that lies ahead.

Volunteers were busy determining a needs assessment and managed to accomplish a great deal before the day was done.  Natalie, Anita, Suzie and Suzanne carefully cataloged existing medications from the pharmacy, while other caring volunteers gave baths to children in the adjoining room. The clinic was filled with loving care, while outside, laughter filled the court yard, as  groups of children were entertained by other volunteers with a game of soccer. As we move forward, we carry many valuable perspectives that will guide our work as we move into construction of our third dispensary.

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Day 6:

As most of our volunteers have returned home, we look back on Day 6, our final day of construction, and are reminded of the incredible power of collaboration. Everyone contributed to the collective energy that allowed us to achieve what we set out to do. In joining forces with our incredible team of Peruvian construction workers, we were able to build 2 new homes. As we eagerly await move-in day for two receiving families, we wish to thank all of our passionate volunteers for joining us on this dynamic journey!

thankyou_allvolunteersA special thank you to Leslie (below left) & the Bridge to Peru fundraising event as well as Linda, Alan & Colette (below right) who respectively raised the funds necessary to build the two new homes. Your generosity & hard work will always be remembered.


As an incredible week comes to a close, Charlotte brings the community together for one of the highlights of our trip: a frenetic game of “Pure Art Bingo” engaging over 120 women and children from the community! A wonderful opportunity to celebrate connections, old & new, we take away a knowledge that love overcomes all boundaries, allowing us to achieve beautiful things.


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