A Pizza Epiphany

We’ve come a long way since an intrepid group of travellers came to Arequipa and set up HOOP in 2012. Now a fully-fledged NGO, with a network of hundreds of people around the world, HOOP co-founder Teresa reflects on HOOP’s amazing growth in this week’s blog.

Since HOOP started back in 2012 – with a skeleton team of five people – HOOP has developed into an organization involving around 150 people at our school and office. Over this time, I’ve watched it grow into an exciting, ever changing (sometimes overwhelming!) but always wonderful organisation.

With around 25 volunteers and staff members dedicated to HOOP’s vision, there are always lots of activities happening at the same time. That means a lot of juggling of the many tasks that need to be fulfilled and even more coming up unexpectedly in between.

In all of this daily craziness it is sometimes difficult to see the progress, but every so often there is this moment of pure silence that let’s you take a step back and look at the wonder that is HOOP.

At the beginning of August we organized a Charity Pub Quiz here in Arequipa. We invited our volunteers along hoping to at least fill one table with our HOOPsters and get some support in preparing the venue. By the time I arrived a handful of our volunteers had sat down at a table and I was told that we would probably have to cancel the quiz. But as the night went on, we had to keep adding table after table, as every single HOOP volunteer, national and international, showed up.

All in all, we had 25 people! That may not seem like a big deal, but knowing that so many people would spend their Saturday evenings helping out, after working so hard for HOOP during the week, was amazing. What was supposed to be a fundraiser event for local trivia fans, turned into a great night out with the whole HOOP team, and in between the laughter and chatting, I experienced a moment of silence. Looking at the table, filling out the entire length of the restaurant, full with people who were not only craving pizza, but who truly cared.

I saw the fun they had with their international volunteer peers representing five continents. I saw the welcoming environment HOOP had created over the years. I saw them exchanging stories about the kids at our school and arguing which one was cuter and mostly I saw each and every one of them being dedicated to helping the families of Flora Tristán.

It is moments like these that let you take a step back and realize how far we have come and know that no matter what happens, HOOP is already a success.

Thank you to everybody, who has helped to make this happen!


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