Atlanta volunteers continue work in Peru while under lockdown

Members of two Atlanta based non-profit organizations are in Peru as the country remains on lockdown due to the coronavirus. 

Jason Armstrong, Ronald Smith and Gwen Brown arrived in the county shortly before the Peruvian government closed off its borders in March. 

Jason Armstrong is the CEO of Something New and Ronald Smith and Gwen Brown are with New Way Revolution. 

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For the last three years, the group has been helping out women who are coming out of abusive relationships and about 70 Venezuelan refugees. 

They help them find jobs, provide food and help them with other skills. 

The three say their work has not stopped during the lockdown, even during challenging and uncertain circumstances. 

"We're talking about two checkpoints to get to armed guards. and once you get to the armed guards you're showing papers and passports. And you're being arrested immediately on the spot if you don't have the proper documentation. And that's to get milk for your children," said Armstong and Brown. 

The government has put restrictions on when people are allowed outside to do things like grocery shop and police are patrolling to make sure people are staying home. 

"On a daily basis, we're down to really being able to do just 2 meals a day and we do that because only one person can go out. We have 70 plus people that we're feeding," Armstrong said. 

Despite the challenges, the three say they're learning from those they are helping out. 

"It's a big life lesson for us because despite what's going on with COVID 19, despite martial law in the streets... what we're seeing is people that are really resilient who are actually teaching us a ton," Armstrong said. 

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The three say they're realizing their work is even more important now. This realization is why they say they're not in a rush to get home to Atlanta. 

"I think as the quarantine extends and as circumstances get more challenging, it has become apparent to us that we play a role here," Brown said. 

They say their families are healthy and safe back at home, but they can't be sure that'll be the case for the people in Peru if they leave. 

"What happens if we stay? And I think we've all felt way more convicted about what happens to the people here if we leave? I don't feel obligated. I don't feel heroic. I think most people in our situation would do the same thing," Brown said. 

"It's a sacrifice because we do miss our families but at the same time, I think it's an honor for me to be here to serve people," Smith said. 

There is a GoFundMe page set up for those who wish to donate to help out those in Peru:

More information on Something New:

More information on New Way Revolution:

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