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Intern And Member Spotlight: Harumi And Ciera, Chalice And Centro Esperanza

Since 2002, ACIC has offered 48 internships in 15 countries through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). These internships provide youth (age 19-30) with international development experience, skills, and knowledge to help better prepare them for future employment, while advancing Canadian development objectives. ACIC is proud to profile our member organizations as well as the interns participating in this year’s IYIP internship program funded by CIDA.

We would like to feature our Members, Chalice and Centro Esperanza ,and their interns, Harumi Flores Montalvo and Ciera DeSilva.

Harumi Flores Montalvo is originally from Veracruz, Mexico, however she calls Hubbards/Halifax her home. Harumi tells us she has been living in Canada for about 15 years now, and has just celebrated her third Canada day as a Canadian! Very exciting! Harumi has received a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Neuroscience, from Dalhousie University.

ACIC wants to know a little bit about her, so we asked:

What got you interested in international development work? I actually did not study international development. I am very interested in the development and functions of the brain. Knowing that the early childhood years provide a very critical time period for brain development, on top of my passion for children, being able to work with impoverished children and their families, to develop programming to stimulate children and promote wellbeing is what initially caught my eye and got me interested in working in the field of international development.

On a day off I would likely ?

On a day off I would likely spend time relaxing. On a weekend off, I would likely spend time away from the city with family and friends. On a more lengthy time off, I would most likely and most probably be spending my time traveling to places I have not yet been.

What are you working on with your host organization/institute here in Atlantic Canada? And overseas?

At Chalice I have been learning about the sponsorship programs they have at many sites around the world. In particular, I am learning about the work Chalice and their partner, Centro Esperanza, carry out in Chiclayo Peru. They work together on Project Chiclayo, a childhood development program, which promotes holistic childhood and family development. I along with two other interns, will be helping Centro Esperanza with this project.

What is your favourite quote?

So often we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey

I have not been everywhere, I don’t know where I’m going, but it’s on my list and I’m on my way.

Ciera DeSilva was born and raised in Bermuda, where she then moved to Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC. Ciera tells us that “a little part of me is also rooted in the Maritimes as I studied at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB”. From Mount A, Ciera has received a Bachelor of Arts with honours, majoring in International Relations and Minoring in Hispanic and French studies.

So we asked Ciera:

What got you interested in international development work?

A Rotary International Youth Exchange sparked my interest in int’l development; before it I thought I’d study science. Living with host families, attending high school, playing violin in various ensembles and doing volunteer work with children and youth showed me harsh inequalities. I learned that everyone essentially wants the same things in this life, which aren’t actually things, but love, trust and to feel useful every day. I studied International Relations to better understand the world, but believe that simply offering a warm smile and help, however small, can change someone’s life for the better.

What are you most excited about your international placement and why?

I’ll be working at Centro Esperanza in Chiclayo, Peru. I’m very excited about two things, mostly about the opportunity to work alongside and learn from a team of women determined to actively improve their communities by empowering those in need. Secondly, I’m thrilled that I’ll be helping teach kids through workshops (perhaps art, leadership skills, English and/or music) using methods which encourage active participation and creativity.

What are you working on with your host organization/institute here in Atlantic Canada? And overseas?

Working with Chalice, I have been doing a variety of tasks so far: making instructional videos, creating subtitles for video footage from Guatemala, researching teaching methods and ideas and editing application forms for nutritional and scholarship programs.

In Peru, I could be doing all sorts of things including offering workshops to students, parents and teachers; establishing funding partners and helping to coordinate a ‘Green Campaign’ with youth. Overall, I’ll be part of a team that promotes holistic childhood and family development.

What is your favourite quote?

I love poetry by the late Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti, especially some lines from his poem ‘Don’t Give Up’ (‘No te rindas’): “Even if the cold burns / Even if fear bites / Even if the sun sets / And the wind goes silent / There is still fire in your soul. / There is still life in your dreams.”

Chalice is a ministry of the Catholic Community, creating and nurturing relationships of life and love wherever they serve. Chalices holds their core values of faith, integrity, commitment, compassion, and respect dear to their work.

Chalice strives to assist sponsored children, their families and their communities in meeting their life needs and affirming their place in a community of caring relationships. They aim to motivate the Catholic community through increasing awareness and education of the needs of others, and they build communities of prayer to honour their values in all relationships. Chalice works on a variety of programs including sponsorship, direct family funding, education, nutrition, disaster relief, as well as many more community projects and programmes, such as water projects and small business development.

Chalice began working in Peru in 2003 with Centro Esperanza in Chiclayo and has since established partnerships with the Sisters of St. Ann in Canete in 2007 and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Lima in 2008. Chalice projects in these 3 communities benefit primarily children and some seniors and fall into the areas of formal and non-formal education, recreation, nutrition, and health. Chalice was also a funding partner in the construction of a Community Center in Chiclayo.

To learn more about Chalice’s programs and projects in Chiclayo, and elsewhere, please visit:

Centro Esperanza began the Chiclayo Project in 2003 with 30 children located in the Slum of “Antonio Raimondi” of the District of Victoria. Currently there are 328 children and 206 beneficiary families, organized into 11 Programs, in 4 Districts of the Region Lambayeque. The organization supports programs to strengthen the capacities of primary education teachers, develop the productive capacities of families, promote environmental sustainability, increase awareness of the importance of early education, provide psychological services to families in the Chiclayo Project and act in solidarity with vulnerable and marginalized groups. Significant achievements to date include the promotion of education and comprehensive early childhood development with a focus on gender, rights, intercultural awareness and the environment. Centro Esperanza has also strengthened organizational capabilities that have allowed it to be more responsive to the demand from state institutions and social organizations for training and policy development in the area of Early Childhood Education.


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