“Peru, the country and the people, along with the SIA team and participants, made every moment so enjoyable, you simply learn to appreciate every moment that is given to you and to work that much harder at what you do. This trip has taught me many important life lessons on values, and the importance of doing good for others and how amazing it can make you feel but, most importantly, this trip has taught me who I want to be and more importantly who I don’t.
I have two words for [students], DO IT. There isn’t one thing I would change on this trip. The only thing I regret is not doing more. The things you do and learn, you cannot explain without experiencing, and it is a trip I wish everybody had the opportunity to take. SIA makes sure every volunteer feels their best at all times, and if for any reason you are not, they do everything in their power to change it. I could not emphasize enough what this experience has meant to me. Peru, SIA team members and all the people I’ve met along the way will forever have a special place in my heart.”
Jasmine Karpinski, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2014 Participant
“I benefited both professionally and personally from this experience […] The placements SIA provided allowed me to be able to use my own skills and strategies that I have developed over my own teaching experiences, in order to serve others. […]To those of you who are thinking of participating in any program offered by Solidarity in Action: do not hesitate. Jump in. One person can create a tremendous amount of difference and positivity in others lives, but it takes your willingness to want to do so.
– Ryan Hughes, Western University, 2014 Participant
“Right now I am on my third trip with SIA, and every time I come back, it feels like home. I have built so many relationships in Peru and it is truly the closest I can get to a true “human experience”. Solidarity in Action is a family to me now, and I encourage every new participants who wants to take this adventure to JUST DO IT. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, when I took my first trip to Peru(2012). As I sit here, in Peru right now, I can truly say that I know I am meant to be here.”
– Mansi Parasher, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2012-2013 Peru participant
I travelled to Lima, Peru in May 2012 for two life-changing weeks, I have never had an experience like this in my entire life, and I am better now because of it When the opportunity to travel to a developing country to work with a community presented itself in an e-mail from my Spanish professor, it was the prospect of visiting Machu Picchu that attracted me the most. In high school we had seen pictures and learned about the Incas, and I dreamed of seeing this wonder of the world. Little did I know that while Machu Picchu was everything I had hoped it would be, the volunteer work is what I reflect on the most now that I am home.”
– Julie Ingriselli, University of Guelph, 2012 Peru participant
“Being a trip leader has allowed Julie and I to facilitate participants on a program that is designed to shift perspectives. Being in Pacifico De Villa was a raw experience for most participants and allowed them to build relationships and be an agent of change. This program does not “change” people, it merely allows them to carve out their true character. Through stepping outside of their comfort zones, participants learned something new about themselves and the world around them. Julie and I are so privileged to be a part of such a surreal learning service experience.”
– Heather Law, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2012 Peru participant, 2013 Program leader.
For many years I had wanted to go on a volunteer trip, so when I heard about SIA Peru from a few friends at school it seemed like a great opportunity. I really liked how SIA focused on sustainable projects that would continue on when we were gone. I have always loved volunteering but I have never had so much fun, bonded with a community and met so many inspiring and amazing individuals as I did in Peru. Not only did the group of SIA volunteers I went with become family, but the people in Lima and Pacifico de Villa did too. I have a whole new perspective and an appreciation for what I have and what is important in life. Now I am counting down the days until next year when I can return to Peru with SIA.
– Lauren Dunlop, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2013 Peru participant, 2014 Program leader .
The amount of knowledge and experience and difference SIA provided me with is invaluable. Something I could never put a price tag on. I will forever carry with me the words of a First Aid Participant in Victor Raul, thanking me for being patient and kind and willing to come teach her community and a young woman of Pacifico de Villa so genuinely soaking in any knowledge I had to share. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or under what circumstances, human beings are decent and kind and good.
On our last day in Pacifico de Villa, I shared with the women of the community that I had learned more in the past two and a half weeks than I had in my whole life. And that couldn’t be more true. There is nothing more worthy then an appreciation of the life you are blessed with and the realization that the world is a big and beautiful place that could use your help. I will forever be a better person for knowing Larry, the translators, the people of Pacifico de Villa, San Genaro and Victor Raul. I will forever be wiser, more appreciative of the life and education that I have and more giving of myself and what ever I can to help.
– Alana Alexander, University of Manitoba, 2013 Peru participant.
I have always loved to travel and explore new places in the world, but I had never participated in a volunteer trip before. Going to Peru in June 2013 was one of the most inspirational and influential trips I have ever been on. I left home eager to travel, and upon arrival I was greeted with warm smiles and open arms. Never did I expect to meet so many genuine people with such a passion for helping others. On the trip I gained friendships and knowledge, but most importantly, I learned the true meaning of the human experience.
– Afton McKee, University of Manitoba, 2013 Peru participant
Some people live their whole lives in a protective shell. They never leave their tiny universe of familiar people and places. They are never forced out of their comfort zone, they don’t evolve; nothing pushes them towards personal growth. My experience with the May 2012 SIA trip to Peru was like that of breaking out of a shell- suddenly there is a whole lot more room to grow. I have never had the opportunity to connect with a community like I was able to in Pacific de Villa. It was no vacation and perhaps that was what made the trip most rewarding of all!”
– Eric Deslauriers, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2012 Peru participant
I felt it was the most fun I had ever experienced. I was doing one of my favourite things to do, volunteering, and I had a real purpose. The SIA August 2011 Peru group was the most amazing mixture of people. We had two professors, a middle-aged married couple, participants in their mid-twenties and students from both Laurier Waterloo and Brantford. We had quite a mix of backgrounds and interests but we were all strongly bonded by an interest to experience something new, learn and make as big a difference as possible in our short time in Peru.”
– Alex Carson, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2011 & 2013 Peru participant and 2012 Ecuador participant
Larry and Angus Shuttleworth [SIA executives] have developed and refined a program that provides something beyond a standard volunteer experience for our students. The cultural immersion and leadership development provided by their programming offers our students much more. The students’ learning and development is paramount in program design, safety is always a consideration and participants are provided an opportunity to challenge themselves to do new things, expand what they are capable of doing and to reflect, share and grow as individuals and as a team…We could not design and execute a program any better ourselves.
– Tom Buckley, Assistant Vice President- Academic Services, Wilfrid Laurier University – 2012 Peru participant
I expected to teach some Peruvian children, maybe help build stairs or fix up a school, and teach children how to brush their teeth. Little did I know that I would be jumping into a two week experience that would change how I saw the world. Yes, I taught children English, I taught children how to brush their teeth, and I helped fix up a daycare, but what I got out of these experiences was so much more than the satisfaction of helping a community for a few days.”
– Jamie Prong, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2010 Peru participant, 2011 Peru trip leader and Ecuador participant, and 2012 Ecuador trip leader
While in Peru I built everlasting relationships with my fellow participants, my trip leaders and with the many Peruvian people I met. These relationships have helped me to grow as a person and helped me to define what I want my role to be in the world. Solidarity in Action offered me an opportunity to do some good and create change. My experience in Peru was the first time in my life that I knew for certain that my life was headed in the right direction.”
– Sarah Cowan, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2011 Peru participant and 2012 Peru trip leader
Solidarity in Action opened my eyes to the beauty of South American culture. I will never forget my time in Ecuador and Peru , as it has led me to build many lasting friendships and provided me with new opportunities I never thought possible. I will carry my experiences with Solidarity in Action with me for the rest of my life. And I know this is only the beginning!”