Spreading Christmas cheer through charity in Lima, Peru


In spite of the stress and frustration brought on by arrangements, plans, and shopping during the holiday season, it’s important to remember what it’s all about. Christmas is a time for giving and spreading that Christmas cheer.

One expatriate community is doing just that. The Lima arm of InterNations, an international expatriate community, is meeting tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Barranco, to donate Christmas gifts for children at the Westfalia orphanage.

Westfalia orphanage is based in Cieneguilla, 90 minutes away from Lima. It provides housing, education, and psychological help to around 100 children with emotional and developmental problems. Some of the children are there because they came from an abusive home, others because they were abandoned. Some children’s parents just can’t afford to bring them up. The orphanage doesn’t receive any government help, apart from a monthly quota of rice (which isn’t enough to go round the 100 children), so it relies heavily on donations.

The orphanage is having its Christmas party on Dec. 21, and needs gifts for the children and teenagers. Every year, the staff and volunteers work hard to make the kids’ Christmas party a special day for the children who either don’t have family or who won’t get to see their family. There’s a traditional turkey dinner, games, competitions, and prizes. The kids also enjoy a live show with plenty of singing and dancing and they each get given a gift.

It’s the gift aspect that InterNations wants to help with. We spoke to InterNations ambassador, Jo Self, who has been a member since 2007. The Lima branch of the network has over 5,000 members. She says that the expatriate network, with members all over the world, has charity councils in 13 of their communities.

“[the communities]do great things for expats around the world.”

She says that she likes the personal aspect of this drive; the donations are for specific children – you get the name and the age of the child you’re choosing a gift for, so you have an idea of the kind of thing to buy.

“What gets donated is actually used there. You know who you’re helping,” said Jo.

This InterNations event isn’t the only one of its kind. InterNations is an expatriate network with members all over the world, and they’re organizing similar events in other cities. In Montreal, for example, they’re providing meals-on-wheels to the elderly, and the Munich branch is working on improving the accommodation for refugees from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. InterNations, an expatriate networking community based in Munich, is the largest expatriate network worldwide, with 1 million members in 390 cities. The various projects of the organization range from fighting against child labor, supporting people with disabilities, and working against hunger.

The expatriate network will be meeting in the Barranco Beer Company, in Barranco, Av. Miguel Grau 308, tonight at 7:30 p.m to donate books, gifts, or funds. Newcomers are very welcome.

*For more information, you can visit Westfalia’s website the InterNations website or email Jo at jo@authenticperu.com.*InterNations is looking for donations of books, games, and other gifts for children at Westfalia orphanage.



Rachel Chase

Rachel Chase is a proud born-and-bred Minnesotan who’s moved to Lima after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College with a double major in Spanish and Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies. During her junior year of college, Rachel studied in Peru and loved it so much that she just had to come back. As well as being a dedicated News Editor, Rachel plays the ukulele and sings, as well as trying to devour as many books as she can.