what is Reciprocity?
with Jimmy Giraldo, Reciprocity NGO Social Projects Coordinator.
We have had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy several times on our travels around Peru. He is truly inspirational and we are so pleased to link our travel business to this charity. We believe the need when travelling to 'give something back' to the local community.
For every tour/holiday we sell to Peru, we will make a donation to Reciprocity to be used how they see fit.
1. What are the main goals and visions of Reciprocity?
Our Main goal is to improve the quality of life of children and single mothers living in extreme poverty. To achieve these goals we focus on very important pillars that are health, education and community work. Besides, every project we start should be sustainable, useful and eco friendly. On the other hand, Our vision is to become the most trustworthy local NGO for donors who would like to support communities in extreme poverty of Lima.
2. Can you describe a typical Lima shanty town community? Is there a 'community leader'?
Extremely poor communities of Lima are locally known as "Asentamientos Humano ''. This means they are towns that are not recognized (Squatters) by the government or local city hall. As a consequence they do not receive drinkable water, electricity, hospitals, schools, etc. Every town is formed by 100 to 400 people. A family can have from 3 children up to 6 children. Every town has from 5 to 10 leaders, these leaders are chosen by the community and their work is to look for support from different charitable organizations and the local city hall. Of course, they also organize the community for communal work.
3. What support do reciprocity give these communities?
We provide different kinds of support divided into these groups.
- Health: Nutritional food, dentist support for children, psychological support for parents and children, training in healthy nutrition, etc. Important to know: We do not provide medicine like pills, tablets, antibiotics, pain relievers etc. because it is not our speciality.
- Construction: This is one of our main supports, we build soup kitchens (Fully equipped), bio gardens, day care centers, libraries, retaining walls, steps and roads.
- Schooling: We sponsor orphaned children with schooling and also we deliver school supplies (books, pencils, notebooks, colours, etc) to different communities in extreme poverty . Besides, we organize reinforcing classes for children who need support with their school subjects.
- Holiday Support: For special holidays like Mother Day, Christmas and New Year, we deliver healthy gifts for children and mothers, also, we organize a tasty lunch or breakfast where everybody enjoys tasty meals prepared by our volunteers.
4. How has this support changed due to Covid?
Our support continues, but is not enough because the demand for help has multiplied tremendously. During the pandemic we focused our support on two particular needs: Building Soup Kitchens and delivering healthy food. Due to the lock down most shanty town families ran out of food and lost their jobs so it was very important to feed them.
5. How did the Reciprocity NGO start?
Reciprocity was started by Edwin Rojas (Also Haku Tours Founder), he was born and raised in one of the poorest shanty towns of Lima Called "Villa el Salvador ", as a child he experienced all the needs that a less fortunate family has to go through. Since then, he was always participating in social projects, volunteering, organizing the communities to improve their conditions, etc. When he finished his university studies he worked in the tourism industry as a tour guide, hotels, etc. So he realised that tourism is a very important tool to bring support to the poorest communities by organizing volunteer days, shanty town tours, home stays, etc. All the benefits obtained from these tours will be used to help the communities. He has been bringing help for more than 25 years (11 years with haku tours and 14 years by himself) to the shanty towns in Lima most of the time with his own resources.
In 2020, Edwin decided to formally establish Reciprocity as a NGO because the demand for help was so much that he had to open doors for more kind hearted people that would like to help, "I had to change my philosophy of helping, I alway wanted to do it alone at my own pace and resources" said Edwin. Fortunately, many people that know Edwin and Haku tours, decided to contribute with the social projects, so it has allowed us to continue with our support. Every days, Edwin goes to the shanty towns bringing donations and happiness for families that need a helping hand.
6. How can people help Reciprocity? Can you explain the importance of donating a blanket appeal?
There are different ways to help our shanty towns that I would like to share with you. Firstly, if you are in Perú you can donate clothes, shoes, food, school supplies, blankets, mattresses, etc. Every week we pick up donations and deliver them to the people that need them most. Secondly, if you are not in Perú, you can send your donation via Paypal and we will be more than happy to use it in the best way you want. Usually donors that send money via paypal mention how the money can be used, if not we decide the best way to use it. Thirdly, to give a "Like" to our posts on social media and also share them. The more people who know about reciprocity, the better. Of course, inviting friends and families to join our social projects is an amazing way to help.
Regarding the importance of the blanket donation. As it is well known most shanty towns in Lima are located on top of the hills (very slippery and sloping locations). During winter it gets very foggy (100% humidity), cold, and rainy. People's houses are usually made out of plastic, cardboard or asbesto, so they are not very resistant to the rain, as a consequence they have to deal with leakings every day. Most families do not have many beds or winter clothes for everybody so they have to share with the parents or siblings, sometimes childrens have to sleep on the floor so providing them a blanket helps them a lot.
7. What sights do you recommend tourists visit in Lima?
Lima is a wonderful city with very beautiful tourist attractions and also with amazingly happy people. If you are in Lima a must to do is the Shanty Town Tour, to know more about real Lima, traditions and local atmosphere. Besides, we advise you to visit Lima's local markets, it is a great way to learn more about the culture. In case you have more than 2 days in Lima, we advise you to do a volunteer day tour with us, it feels great to support the people who need it the most.
8. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got involved with the charity.
I am 28 years old and I work as a tour guide for Haku Tours and I volunteer as a social project coordinator for Reciprocity NGO. About my childhood, I was born and raised on a small farm 4 hours north of Lima. As a child I went through a lot of needs so I know first hand how hard it is to grow up in a shanty town. One of my goals in life is to help those who need it the most so I was always looking for a company or organization that has the same philosophy. Seven years ago, I came across Haku Tours (sister company of Reciprocity), a company that is very socially responsible and that runs many social projects via RECIPROCITY NGO. When the pandemic started I realized that an extra helping hand was needed so I decided to participate in every social project that benefits our shanty towns. It makes me feel great when I see children's faces happy.
For more information about Reciprocity please see their website:
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