Yoni has been living in the Pura Vida Shelter in Peru for almost 6 years. At 11 years old her mother passed away and because she was living in an alcoholic family environment her and her 8 siblings got separated after the death of her mother. She was the only one who stayed with her father for more than a year, but because he was suffering from alcoholism she was forced to make the unthinkable journey to Cusco at 12 years old. In Cusco she found a rich family that took her in to be a nanny and house keeper. Thinking her troubles were over, in reality they had just began. For more the three years Yoni was exploited and severely abused. Until the founder of the Pura Vida Foundation and his wife rescued her at the tender age of 15 from horrific circumstance’s. Over the next 6 years Yoni was part of the Pura Vida family, she was able to finish her schooling and receive a high school diploma. During this time we also worked with Yoni on the abuse she suffered and in front of our eyes she matured into an incredible young woman. And on September 2016 The Pura Vida Foundation was able to bring in an amazing volunteer named Heather Sarah from Saint Jerome’s University. And with her help we were able to obtain a travel visa to Canada for Yoni Huahuasonco Banos. During her time in Canada she participated in two events, one at Ryerson, University, that the boys from 8.1.2. Leather sponsored and orchestrated. Not only did they put the event together they invited us into their home like we were family. Then to top off the trip the other event was held at the Civic Theatre in Nelson B.C. which saw more than 300 people come out and support Yoni. The bravery she showed to stand in front of so many people and tell her story, was something of a miracle. In those two fundraiser’s Yoni helped The Pura Vida Foundation raise $12,527.65. To have seen her grow from the scared, broken and abused young girl into a woman talking in front of hundreds of people was one of the proudest moments in Pura Vida’s history.
This wouldn’t have been possible without all our sponsors in both events. 8.1.2. Leather in Toronto, Valhalla Pure, and John Ward’s Fine Coffee, in Nelson B.C. And thanks to all the volunteers and amazing people who were involved in Yoni’s amazing trip to Canada.