Laura Aguirre Castañeda

National Sponsorship Coordinator SOS Children's Villages in Peru

A strong triangle

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On those days, we, the sponsorship team, were struggling to make some of our colleagues appreciate our work. How to make them see that our work meant more than translating letters and reports? How to make them see that no matter where we sit, everyone at the organisation contributes to the main goal? Should we carry out a workshop? Should we talk to them? We got the answer in the perfect timing…

We all matter
I got very angry when one of my colleagues said hello to us in the morning with following words: “Oh, hi ladies, there you are playing … again!” I did not respond immediately, as I did not want to be offensive and because I was very busy arranging the visit of a Norwegian sponsor. She was not going to be able to travel to Chiclayo (800 km away from Lima), so she asked us to bring her sponsored child, Lucrecia1, and her SOS mother to Lima – all costs covered by her - and to arrange the meeting at the national office. It would not be a big deal, because it was summer time and because her sponsored child was already 18 years old and had completely agreed with that.

A loving home for every child
The lady came first and waited with me for the girl at the reception. Some minutes later, the young lady and her mother arrived. The sponsor was so excited to see the girl she had been supporting for so many years, that she got very emotional. Sponsor and sponsored child embraced each other lovingly, and this very strong hug was only interrupted by the words of the generous lady: “You know, I was supposed to give this present to you later, at the restaurant while having lunch, but I cannot wait until then, please, open it” She gave the girl a big fat beautifully wrapped book. I was so focused in this scene, that I did not notice that the colleague, who had been teasing us in the morning showed up and had the opportunity to see the whole scene. He was so touched that he began to tell others about it … in one minute half of the office was in the ground floor…

Lucrecia, in the meantime, had already un-wrapped the gift, and looking at her expression when finding out what it was, you could say it was something special … Indeed, it was. The sponsor had made a book out of all the letters, reports, pictures, and pieces of information she had been receiving from Lucrecia and from us for fifteen years! The young lady was astonished and kept saying: “Mom, this is me, this is my whole life! This is my biography! By looking at that book she was recalling the first day when she joined her SOS family, her first birthday party, her first pair of pink shoes, the school, her friends, but above all, her life in a caring family environment.

It’s all about you!
All of a sudden we, the national office co-workers, saw also our work translated into that beautiful book. Many years of hard work, of commitment and passion were there. Standing there, silent, as touched by an epiphany I saw we were forming a powerful triangle: on one corner the SOS Mother, on the second one the sponsor, and on the third one we, the co-workers. Lucrecia stood in the middle not believing her eyes: “Mom, it´s all about me!”

1 Original name has been changed to maintain confidentiality

Laura Aguirre Castañeda

is the National Sponsorship Coordinator at SOS Children’s Villages Peru in Lima.

I joined SOS CV 17 years ago and instantly, I fell in love with the job as it involved two topics I am very interested in: childhood and foreign languages. In 2008, I became the sponsorship coordinator. Ask me what I like about my job and I will say: it is the opportunity to do more than I am supposed to, and learn from it. I enjoy taking part in programme activities, and interact with children, families, and colleagues.

I was born to a family of four and still after 62 years of my parents’ marriage, we their children and grandchildren remain witnesses to their still inspiring love story. I enjoyed a very happy and noisy childhood and each time I meet with my siblings, love is always in the air! I am a single mom of a 21 year old boy. With his recovery from leukemia, life has a different meaning to me. Indeed, I have been blessed with a strong, loving and supporting family and with true friends.

Society in Peru: More than in the power of words, I firmly believe in the power of acts, in the power of a good example and of its multiplying effect. As we work with heart and mind for a good cause, so also will our children. As there are challenges of all sorts so equally are opportunities for diverse goods.

I enjoy it spending time with my family and friends, riding my bike and nevertheless, I love driving my car as well and preferably, on weekends, when the traffic is not so tragic in Lima. Travelling and meeting and interacting with people are things I so much like. I welcome and enjoy opportunities to dance, sing, cook, eat, read, etc. Ask me about my favorite scenario, and I would say: it is by the sea; then lucky enough, I am born and also live in a coastal city!