After over thirty years of being out of contact with my cousin, Rev. Padre Pedro Vásquez, we reestablished contact in 1999. He was, at that time, the only priest for the parish of San Pedro in Mórrope, Perú. Vito and I agreed on a visit to his town and, this visit changed our lives forever.

As we walked around the neighborhoods and the 38 villages that were part of his parish ministry we saw, first hand, the dire poverty in which these people were living. The majority of families had no running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. Nevertheless, we were struck by the love and acceptance of the people we visited.

We were moved to action and decided to develop a plan to help these people, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We met with a group of mothers who were making textiles to sell to help their families. We also met with a young man who created ceramics to sell to be able to feed his family.

Our first step was to bring their products back to sell here, in the United States, and every penny collected was given back to them. This became our first effort at fundraising. With your help and the help of our family and friends, we raised $14,000. And so we began … but … Father Pedro had a much larger vision: to educate the young people of Mórrope.

Father Pedro’s vision was indeed larger. He told us about the young people who, after high school, had nothing to do, or were leaving their town. In subsequent visits we established the need to bring education to these young people who had the desire to continue their education but did not have the means. And so, we decided to create the Hope for Mórrope Foundation, to serve his vision.