Mid July Peter den Hond and Janneke Smeulders went to Peru for a 4 week visit to the first FairMail unit they founded in 2006. Peter tells us about what they encountered.
“Visiting FairMail Peru is always an energizing experience for us. After all it is where it all started and the beginning of the wonderful flow experience we are now in with FairMail. Also the place we lived for 4 years still means a lot to us, just like the many friends we still have there. Of course especially the teenagers and managers of FairMail Peru!”
“The good thing about the first encounters is hearing about how the kids and their families are doing. And what their plans are. For example from 3 kids we heard that they where about to start university and 2 of them told us how much they liked their cooking classes. Unfortunately there was also one teenager who pulled out of prep school due to problems at home. And we where shocked to hear about another ex-FairMail participant who is wanted by the Peruvian police for extortion and another who was caught for armed assault! It makes you realize again just how difficult the environments are where our teenagers come from. And that these environments and “friends” sometimes have a lot of force to pull them back in. Despite the perspectives FairMail tries to provide them.”
“The goal of the visit this time was also to introduce a new policy called “Mi camera Propia” (Spanish for “My Own Camera”). The goal was to increase the quality of the cameras the teenagers currently borrow from FairMail. The use of better and more expensive camera’s means the teenagers have to learn to manage an even bigger responsibility. So only the ones that wanted to got the chance to invest their earnings in a new camera. FairMail provided support by paying for 25% of the purchase price and giving credit facilities to pay for the camera in 12 months. After that period the teenagers become owners of their own camera which means they can keep using it after they leave FairMail at the age of 19. This perspective and the fact that they are paying for the cameras themselves we hope will stimulate the teenagers to treat their new toys with great responsibility. If successful the same policy will be implemented in India in March 2012.”
“Also we made a 7 day photography trip to Huamachuco. This time without any tourists but with the whole FairMail team. It proved to be a great team building experience. Besides taking pictures for the next card collection together we also talked about the importance of working as a team, sexual education and made plans for FairMail’s marketing in Peru.”