Mission: Convert an unused storage shed into an early childhood development center benefiting the women and children of the struggling mountain community of Ccoc-Hua in rural Peru. 

As in many third-world countries, children in remote villages of Peru continue to fall significantly behind in scholastic achievement and development due in part to a simple lack of funding and resources. Research tells us that mental growth and development occurs most rapidly in children ages zero to five. The importance of an intellectually stimulating environment for the very young is paramount to both their future and the generations that follow.

Not only was the village of Ccoc-Hua (pronounced Hōc-Waa) in desperate need of a suitable facility for their child development program, but they also lacked the means in which to amply supply it with the necessary tools and materials. Just weeks ago, the regional nurse was using simple objects like rusty clothespins and a handful of mismatched building blocks to develop crucial motor, language and thinking skills.

In only five days, Mission McNeill volunteers were able to to convert the village clinic’s storage shed into a fully functioning early childhood development center. The walls were repaired and adorned in original concept art depicting the three main regions of Peru using simple shapes and colors. The space was furnished for several types of play, ranging from a simple playscape for infants to an activity area where older children can engage in puzzles and games. The vibrant new room is now well-equipped with a range of toys to stimulate sensory, creative, social and muscle development.

Immediately, the center is making a world of difference to 110 children; over the next few years, it’s projected to help an estimated 180 children. The entire project was completed for roughly $700 USD, about the price of a flat-screen television.

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Special thanks to J.R. Rapier and Colin Decker.