The pandemic drastically impacted Manos Unidas Peru in a devastating way. MUP has been forced to step back, reevaluate, and pivot its programs and approach for over a year. 70+ MUP students were isolated from the community with minimal resources last year, 40 ended up enduring a virtual education program for the 2020 school year. All collateral programs were suspended, including Manos Unidas Café.
Mercedes, MUP’s ED and Camino Nuevo’s school director, is dedicated to keeping Camino Nuevo open in the face of repeated change and loss. She is continually forced to pivot to meet ordinances with the ministry of education. Gratefully, the team is thinking creatively on how they are going to reach the children this year. We know that virtual education was effective but extremely cumbersome for families and did not meet all the children’s needs, similar to the challenges we face here in the U.S.
Over the past two years, MUP has been evolving into an autonomous organization, independent of Manos Unidas International, now reaching 100% autonomy. All decisions are made by the MUP board of directors and Executive, a positive strengthening point in their evolution. Unfortunately, due to financial challenges many of the staff were furloughed last year and only six were offered contract renewals for 2021. We are confident that the teachers who were let go will be seeds for our mission wherever they end up.
MUI will continue to support MUP looking ahead. We will be supporting MUP’s scholarship program for 25 Camino Nuevo students for 2021. We will keep you updated on the pivotal responses MUP comes up with to serve our students at Camino Nuevo as they continue to face challenging times for the 2021 school year, due to start next week.