Thousands of kilometres away from the Aegean’s blue waters or the rugged mountains of mainland Greece lies a kindergarden roughly an hour’s drive from the Peruvian capital of Lima. Located in a poor district, San Juan de Lurigancho, the school has been “adopted” since 2003 by the Greek state, which supplies the school with equipment and writing materials.
Pupils at the “Centro de Educacion Inicial Republica Helenica” wear blue and white uniforms and hoist both the Peruvian and Greek flags at the school.
In fact, Greece’s ambassador to the Andean nation, Amb. Yiannis Papadopoulos, visited the school in person on the occasion of the Oct. 28 national holiday, celebrated in the east Mediterranean country last week, where he was received by more than 200 pupils of the school.
The presence of Hellenism in Peru dates from the earliest Spanish colonial period, with the first Greek names appearing on texts dating to 1560, whereas there are some 40 registered Greek families in the country today.
“Greece is helping a school in one of the most downgraded areas of Lima. Both the children and teachers want to thank the country, and feel that it is a member of our family. It may sound strange, but in this neighbourhood Greece lives in all the families, as for several years now since the first years of the school’s operation, they (kindergardeners) are taught that Greeks are our brothers,” Principal Olinda Florentina Vasquez Rojas told the ANA-MPA
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