The International Day at Tyler Junior College is a rich tradition in Tyler that celebrates various cultures from around the world and their remarkable artistic expressions, they celebrated with cultural exhibitions, international music, entertainment, food fair, and arts and crafts from 40 countries all around the world.
This year our founder of The Niños Foundation in Peru was one of the Guests of honor
here an extrac from www.tjc.edu/news:
"Jolanda van den Berg and her remarkable story about how an ordinary person can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others"
In 1998, Ms. van den Berg was able to start her own business, Niños Hotel, with help from a generous donor. When asked about her business plan and prior experience, she was completely honest about having neither, but the donor was so moved by her determination he decided to support her mission, “to create a better life and a better future for as many chanceless and neglected children in and around Cusco as possible.” Soon after opening the hotel, she used the income along with donations from the Netherlands to build the first children’s cafeteria in Cusco. The cafeteria provides free meals for children in a safe environment along with caring attention from the staff.
Dr. Mike Metke, TJC president and avid outdoorsman, originally met Ms. van den Berg in 1999 while traveling to Peru to explore the Lost City of the Incas, the famous Machu Picchu archeological site.
“Other travelers told me about this amazing woman named Jolanda who had a hotel and was helping street children,” Metke said. “While she originally came to Peru to see this magical site, she lost all interest in Machu Picchu and focused on the children – which would become her life’s work,” he added.
Jolanda is the founder of The Niños Foundation, the organization she formed after witnessing the difficult circumstances faced by the children in Cusco, Peru. During her initial trip, she found many children were neglected or had no family. Children were roaming the streets searching for food and trying to take care of themselves. Only six months after returning home to the Netherlands, Ms. van den Berg packed her belongings and moved to Cusco.