You can read about how Azul Wasi are coping during the strict lock-down in Peru in our Spring 2020 Newsletter Azul Wasi Newsletter – Spring 2020. You can sign up to receive the twice yearly Azul Wasi Newsletter, and occasional emails with information of forthcoming events. These will be sent out via mailchimp and, as in the past, your details will never be passed on to any other person or organisation. To make a donation to Azul Wasi click the button below (to give online) or scroll down for further information.There are currently 14 school-age children and 6 young adults living there. They all attend the village school and when they finish there the older teenagers attend colleges in Cusco to gain further qualifications. At Azul Wasi, they live as a family and are learning the basic skills for living, helping with the cooking and washing and looking after the animals. When the children first arrive they are often very withdrawn, insecure and have poor levels in reading and writing. They have to adjust to a completely new situation and living together as a new family. Some children only speak Quechua when they arrive and have to learn Spanish. Often the children arrive without any birth certificate or ID and Alcides has to work with the authorities to get their ID issue sorted out before they can start to go to school. Azul Wasi has had its ups and downs but the children are very happy there and are making great progress. The children continue to work hard at school and with their homework. They are doing well, both academically and in sport – many of them are keen footballers, and several of the children have come at the top of their classes. One of the older boys was the Head Boy at the school. Azul Wasi is certainly making a big difference to their lives and giving them real opportunities for the future. The children take part in a programme of training in various skills so that they can have a better chance of getting a job when they leave the house. They have taken part in training workshops in a variety of areas – e.g. how to make and use compost, bread-making, creating a CV, IT skills etc. Six of the children took a year-long cookery course at a gastronomy training centre, Inca Educa. These opportunities have been funded by LAFF (Latin American Foundation for the Future), a UK charity with a member of staff based in Cusco who, like us, have been long-time supporters of Azul Wasi. Some of the older boys have now left and are leading independent lives, using the education and the training they have received at Azul Wasi. One of the boys began studying at university. He worked very hard to get into the University, and it was a great achievement for him to get a place, but sadly, because there have been so many strikes by the teaching staff (not at all uncommon in Peru) his education there has been disrupted and he has now decided to retrain in hotel administration at Cenfotur, the centre for training in tourism in Cusco. Five of the older ones have been accepted to the governmental programme “Jóvenes Productivos” – a programme that seeks to give employment to young people by offering a 2-month course in gastronomy at Cenfotur, who will then help them to find a job. It is not always easy for them to move on, but they have ambition and Azul Wasi will always be their family. They are given continued support and mentoring by the LAFF team to help them adjust to independent living and working. New buildings are built when money becomes available. The new brick-built dormitories protect them better from the cold winds and rain, and the new dining room is a great improvement. Their current project is the building of a new block for the toilets and showers. The fruit trees which were planted right at the beginning are flourishing and the boys all help to grow crops of maize, potatoes and other vegetables. The original greenhouse blew down in high winds but a larger, more solid greenhouse is up and running. They started growing flowers to supply to Arte Floral – a social enterprise at Casa Mantay which is another organisation that LAFF supports, but finding the right types of plants that will flourish has been challenging. There are a lot of animals at Azul Wasi, which the children help to care for, including dogs, cats, chickens and ducks and geese, as well as their friendly parrot called Laura. Their most recent addition is a cow, which gives them milk. They were breeding guinea pigs to sell, but it turned out that the profit margins were not great enough to be worthwhile continuing on that scale as a commercial venture. However they have decided to keep the guinea pigs, as the children enjoy looking after them and it helps them to have the responsibility for caring for them. Chris and Mary were really pleased to have been able to visit Azul Wasi in August 2018, and to meet with Alcides as well as Marcela, the LAFF representative in Cusco. The Azul Wasi Newsletter Autumn 2018 contains news of their visit and of some of the boys who have now left Azul Wasi to find work and lead independent lives. You can read more about LAFF’s other projects on the LAFF website and the LAFF Facebook page.