Kids that have little... but are willing to learn

Emma Doherty with one of the kids at the school in Arequipa, Peru. [020711SML2 Peru]
Emma Doherty with one of the kids at the school in Arequipa, Peru. [020711SML2 Peru]

My name is Emma Doherty and I’m from Derry. In September 2010, I left my IT career and moved to Peru for 10 months to work in an incredibly underprivileged school in a city called Arequipa.

I had heard of people doing these projects but I never really considered such a big move. I, like most, thought it was something other people did. I was taken aback by the level of poverty. Teaching in Arequipa was an entirely different environment.

The children there have so little but are friendly, grateful and willing to learn. There are children who require specialist, one on one, education. The level of personal satisfaction from working in this situation and with these children is simply immense. It is hard to articulate how rewarding it is to teach them, even for a brief amount of time.

I was there almost eight months when, unfortunately, the organisation I worked for could no longer support the school.

Suddenly the children didn’t have food anymore and they didn’t have the support that was badly needed from the volunteers. This is when Put Them First became a necessity. It is a not for profit organisation that promotes the educational advancement of children living in impoverished areas of the world. It has been set up to help underprivileged children specifically in South America.

Our school in Arequipa is full of bright, enthusiastic kids but, unfortunately, it doesn’t have the resources to teach them effectively. It can with your help. The children rely on great people to volunteer and help them learn. There are no administrative fees with Put Them First but a monthly contribution goes strictly, and solely, towards feeding and educating these children. Without this support, they go hungry. The only criterion for willing volunteers is a basic level of Spanish.

Not only will this endeavour allow you to witness the rewards of your work firsthand, it is a life changing experience.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by going to or by contacting me at or