From Peru to Nelson with love

Peru's Yoni Huahuasoncco, who lives in a shelter provided by Nelson's Pura Vida Foundation, will soon visit the Kootenays.

Yoni Huahuasoncco will speak at the Civic Theatre next month about the work being done by the Pura Vida Foundation.

Yoni Huahuasoncco has always wanted to see other countries.

The 21-year-old Peruvian woman, who lives in a home provided by Nelson’s Pura Vida Foundation, was abandoned by her family when she was 12 years old. And now she’s eager to thank the local community for their support over the years.

“The town I grew up in is very poor. I grew up in a very unhealthy environment, with abuse and alcoholism and low economic resources. Years later my mother died of an unknown disease,” Huahuasoncco wrote in a letter to the community.

“I spent some time with my father who drank alcohol and abandoned me. When I turned 12, I travelled by myself to Cusco where I met a wealthy family. There I was exploited and abused mentally and physically for more than three years.”

That’s when she met Pura Vida founder Nathan Beninger.

“The foundation rescued me from the hell I was living every day. [Beninger’s wife] Greta and his family, welcomed me, gave me love, understanding, education, health and safety. Thanks to this foundation my life has changed.”

And now that she’s getting a chance to experience Canada firsthand, she’s struck by the gulf between first and third-world life.

“In Peru there is a lot of disorder starting with education. Those who have money can study in the best universities and the best schools, and the people who live in poverty, which is the majority of Peru, have to accept a very underfunded and broken education system with teachers who have no training or motivation.”

Pura Vida has been paying for her education. Without that support, she said her life would be quite different.

“If I had not been rescued I would have escaped and returned to my Andean community where I would have been forced to marry an alcoholic husband.

“I would probably have had given birth to three children by now, and most of the young woman my age from these types of communities are forced into this life of abuse and neglect.”

Her future’s brighter, and that’s thanks to Pura Vida and the people of Nelson. She can’t wait to show up and thank her benefactors.

“Canada is the opposite of Peru. It is safer and I like its people, it is multicultural, they have an inexplicable brightness and are always carrying a smile that when you see it makes your day. Thanks, I love this country.”

Huahuasoncco will speak at a Civic Theatre screening of multiple documentaries that explore Pura Vida’s work and impact in Peru. The event will start at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read