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Natalia heads home...

Natalia (ACCA)
Paz y Esperanza, Peru

From the enchanted city of Lima to the bright lights of London, Natalia left Peru in 2014 and ventured across the Atlantic to take the next step in her accounting career. Whilst working as a Management Accountant, she decided to use her annual leave to do something different and when the opportunity arose to head back to her home country to volunteer, Natalia simply couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.


Volunteering for two weeks with Paz y Esperanza, Natalia supported the organisation through carrying out an internal audit, reviewing their investment proposals and offering recommendations for improvements as well as reaching out and connecting the organisation with enterprises with CSR programme approval.


Having recently returned from Lima, we got in touch with Natalia to find out what it was like heading back home to volunteer and what she gained from her experience…


What made you decide to volunteer in Peru?
Well, when I met Neil (Jennings, the founder), he mentioned that AfID were always looking for Spanish speakers as they have a large number of organisations in South America in need of support. Once I had begun the volunteering process, Daniela (Programmes Manager) sent me a list of possible locations for volunteering assignments and Lima in Peru was one of the options. I am from Lima and even if I wanted to visit and explore new cities, the possibility of helping my own country was too big an opportunity to pass on.


Why did you choose Paz y Esperanza to support?
I wanted to volunteer with an organisation that was working on women's rights and/or children's education. When AfID Introduced me to Paz y Esperanza and I read about their work in Peru, I realised that this organisation was making a significant change in my country and I wanted to be a part of that.


My country is beautiful and the people have great qualities such as a sense of community, solidarity and hard-work - but we also have things that we need to change. Issues such as gender inequality, violence against women and the recognition of the rights of indigenous people need to be improved and when I learnt that Paz y Esperanza work on these problems and try to bring about changed, I knew I wanted to be involved. It has been great to meet people with such commitment to these objectives.

What are you hoping to gain from your volunteering experience?
I had already gained an understanding of what changes are in progress, but it needs more commitment from government to replicate the good work Paz y Esperanza is doing in Peru.


What would your advice be to others thinking about volunteering?
It's an incredible experience which allows you to understand a country, a society and how you could help to make a change. Also, through volunteering you meet people who work for change every day and that is very inspiring.

Paz y Esperanza is a Christian human rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting justice on behalf of persons and communities living in poverty or affected by different forms of injustice in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

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