Ana’s Story

“You know, there are many ugly things in the world, but also very many beautiful things. You know, God cries when God sees Syria, Burma, the Central African Republic, Boco Haram and the girls. God really cries, and says, ‘Whatever got into me to create that lot?’ And then He looks again and God sees Ana, and a smile begins to break through God’s face, and an angel wipes away God’s tears, and He says, ‘Go for it, Ana, go for it, go for it!’ And God says, ‘Yes, that’s why I created them.’”

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, June 2014

Ana, In Her Own Words

Archbishop Desmont Tutu with Founder, Ana Dodson.I was born in Cusco, Peru and adopted while still a baby. During the summer of 2003, when I was 11 years old, my mother and I went back to Peru. I had collected teddy bears and Spanish children’s books to bring to the children at the orphanages that we planned to visit.

The Hogar de Niñas near Anta is a small orphanage in the hills outside Cusco. It was not one of our scheduled orphanages to visit because it is so small and remote, but when I found out about it, I really wanted to go there since it is near where I was born. When we went to the hogar, I gave the children the books and teddy bears. They greatly appreciated the gifts, but our presence clearly had a larger impact than the items we brought with us. We soon learned that the orphanage had never had visitors before, and I imagined what it must be like to live as those girls did.’

Yenivel and Ana

During our visit, I got to know one of the girls there in particular; her name was Yenivel. As we left, she started to cry, hugged me, and said that she believed I would not forget about them. Between Yenivel’s words and the realization that I could have been in an orphanage like this one, I was inspired me to do something to help these girls. There were so many things in my life that I had been taking for granted; I was truly, incredibly lucky. I was blessed with a wonderful, loving family that always supported me, and I had amazing educational opportunities. I wanted these same advantages for the girls in Peru. They needed more than books and bears, and I believed that if I tried, I might be able to really help them.

Peruvian Hearts has taught me that no situation, however discouraging, is beyond hope. I know that I can’t change the world in a day, and I know that I cannot do this by myself, but I believe that kids and adults, working together, really can make a difference. I want to show other young people how easy it is to get involved, and I want to inspire them to reach out and help others less fortunate than themselves. I believe that every person has the ability to help make the world a better place.

The motto of Peruvian Hearts is “changing the world, one heart at a time.” I hope that Peruvian Hearts will make an impact on the lives of other kids and help them believe that they can make a difference in the world. Every time a child helps another child, it is an act of kindness. These small acts of kindness can help create a more peaceful world.

Find out more about empowering women and changing lives in Peru by visiting “What We Do” and “How You Can Help.”

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