Since 2006 Inter-American Trading, Inc. has been donating a percentage of our gross sales to Father Anthony of the Santa Ana Parish, in Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima, Peru.
Villa Maria del Triunfo is part of Villa El Salvador, a “barrio joven” or new neighborhood located on the outskirts of the Capital, Lima, Peru. Just over 20 years ago, Villa El Salvador was an empty desert prairie stretching to the south of Lima. During the period of severe terrorism, roughly 25 years ago, the modest workers of the Peruvian provinces were exposed to extortion by these terrorists, so they fled to the big cities for reinforcement. Many “barrios jovenes” start with simple huts made with straw mats for walls and corrugated sheets as roofs. If these areas are lucky they will receive electricity, water and sanitation but in actuality, the majority
will only receive 1 or 2 but rarely all 3 of these services.
Father Anthony, better known as ‘Padre Antonio’ by the community, hails from Winchester, Massachusetts. He completed his studies at Washington Theological Institute in Washington D.C. and ministered at a Parish in the Bronx before relocating to Peru in 1980. He has been working at the Parish of Santa Ana for the past 6 years.
The Parish of Santa Ana offers a multitude of services to this poverty-stricken community including a lunch “soup kitchen” type of operation, two medical clinics, a dental clinic, legal aid consulting and a full time social worker. Inter-American Trading, Inc. focuses on two main aspects of the Parish, the Parish school that currently has up to grade six and building a center for vocational training.
Our areas of focus are twofold
1) The vicious cycle of single mothers in Peru. The cycle begins when a young man finds a young woman and proceeds to have children with her. After a couple of kids, the young man will become overwhelmed with the burden of supporting a family. He will desert the family and flee to a new area and in turn, a new woman where the same situation will occur. By building a vocational school where young mothers can learn a trade, we hope to slow this cycle but most importantly teach the young mothers how to provide their families and for themselves. Unfortunately, this project has been halted until we can raise enough funds to provide bars on the windows so nothing will be stolen from the building. Where there is poverty, there is also crime. By supporting Inter-American Trading, Inc., through your orders, together we can help ‘Padre Antonio’ get this project back on its feet.
2) The Children. The funds that we donate to the Parish school go for many different things. When we first encountered the school in 2006 there was one main floor. Through the dedication of ‘Padre Antonio,’ enough money has been raised to complete a second floor to the school. We hope that the expansion of the school continues, in hopes that these children will overcome their otherwise bleak futures.
Not only does our contributions, through your orders, go to fundamental aspects of life, but also the occasional “fiesta.” For the past few years, Inter-American Trading, Inc. has participated in ‘chocolatadas.’ A chocolatada is a distinct aspect of Peruvian “Christmas culture,” where typically a charity or affluent individuals give a little bit of holiday cheer to their less fortunate counterparts. In Peru it is a custom to drink hot chocolate and eat a ‘fruit cake’ called panetón on and around Christmas. A ‘chocolatada’ is exactly that. Our efforts provide hot chocolate, panetón and a little toy/ gift to the children of the Parish. The first year our efforts provided nearly 1,000 children a brighter Christmas and we are ecstatic to share that this past Christmas our efforts provided nearly 2,000 children this little joy.
After 30 years of business supporting the indigenous people by purchasing their handicrafts through the private enterprise system, we are so happy that we can spread our wings to reach even more, less-fortunate individuals. It is thanks to you, through the orders of our loyal customers, we can continue to make the lives of the people in this poor community, just a little bit better.