News Blog

You can keep up with the latest project developments from the people on the ground making them happen via the BWB Blog. We want to hear from you and welcome your comments.
PROJECTS BLOG 06/16/2009

9 months later PSF’s story of growth

Nine long months have passed since Burners Without Borders closed up operations in Peru. With our time coming to an end, we shared the pride of accomplishments, yet understood our efforts constituted a mere a pimple on an elephant’s ass in relation to Pisco’s colossal needs.

We understood the long term effects of this natural disaster would be felt for years to come maybe even generations. Collectively, we also saw the potential of volunteers’ perseverance. It was this strength, this relentless force of empowerment that led us towards focusing energy on the continuation of volunteer operations in Pisco, not as BWB, but in setting the framework for local leadership. This framework was developed to address the  lack of long-term NGO commitments in disaster areas. Following a disaster, many organizations respond quickly to provide the life sustaining resources needed. Unfortunately it is unfeasible for international organizations to commit years to one geographical area.

Our program was blessed with the inclusion of the participation of the local population. It was within the group of local volunteers that we  trained and conditioned leaders to emerge. In the middle of July, close to a month before BWB’s pull out, two Pisqueños presented the idea of launching their own like minded volunteer organization, Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF).

The idea was creating local leadership  inclusion of the international volunteer community with the local population. The concept seems simple, yet in reality is far from it. PSF began experiencing extreme challenges from the beginning. Within a month of opening operations armed men broke into the headquarters to rob the organization and the volunteers. The new leaders were tested immediately when they became suspects in the eyes of the local authorities. These accusations soon vanished as authorities found the culprits.

The second major hurdle came soon after when founding member Will Sanchez made the hard decision of leaving the Pisco area in search of work. This left Harold Zevallos as the remaining director and with a much larger work load on his shoulders. At this point it was apparent that Peruvian living situations greatly restricted the time available for volunteering.In an area where most people worry about  life’s essentials like food and running water, volunteering full time is unfeasible. A group of BWB volunteers banded together to offer an important stipend allowing Harold to dedicate 100% of his time to the organization and of course, for the children of Pisco. To this day, we are still supporting his efforts and are always accepting the help of others who are interested.

With Harold fully dedicated and growing daily as a leader, PSF began to excel and mold itself into a perfect model of how NGO’s can “leave a trace” after closing operations. The pertinacity of past volunteers shined strong in the early days. Over the first months, multiple former BWB volunteers assisted with emails, websites, financial support, and on the ground man hours. We are happy to now announce these tasks have been completely turned over to the new group of empowered volunteers on the ground. The success of a volunteer driven project does not lie in the hands of one, but in the hands of many. Harold has set the framework for others to utilize the gifts they have to bring the community

PSF has welcomed over 200 hard working volunteers from around the globe and provided thousands of volunteer hours. With their help, PSF is making an impact. They have been accepted by Omprakash Foundation for US based fiscal sponsorship, have successfully began raising hundreds of dollars through online donations, and have now surpassed BWB’s time operating as a volunteer organization in Peru.

I would like to personally congratulate Harold and give a special thanks to all BWB volunteers that have contributed to the success of PSF. In closing, I hope everyone knows that the platform is set for YOU in Pisco. If you’re looking for that change in your life head down to Pisco and keep the Burner vibe alive. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to offer support at

Help BWB continue to support and grow organizations like Pisco Sin Fronteras!  Click here to donate.



Comments are closed.