Baptism by fire and three months of the unknown.

That's what Waikanae mother Gilly Fiford and her 8-year-old daughter Anaiah are stepping into.

Gilly and Anaiah are heading out with Institute for Field Research Expeditions (IFRE), a non-profit voluntary organisation placing volunteers in 18 countries, to work in Remar Cachimayo orphanage in Cusco, Peru.

IFRE started in 2005 due to the lack of places people who wanted to volunteer could go that was affordable.


"You had to go and pay all this money to an agency and the money didn't even get to the people it was meant to help," Gilly said.

"So IFRE was started to try and make it affordable.

"All the money goes to the orphanages and the projects they are working on.

"We raise money to get to Peru and then the other money we have raised we give to them while we are there."

Anaiah (left) and Gilly Fiford will be heading to Peru for three months. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Anaiah (left) and Gilly Fiford will be heading to Peru for three months. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Packing up her life in Kāpiti, renting out their home and taking Anaiah out of school for three months, Gilly is confident the trip will be a time of growth for the two of them.

"It's been on my heart for a long time to go but I thought Anaiah was too young.

"Most voluntary organisations allow families to go but the minimum age is 14 so when I talked to IFRE and they said she could come and work alongside me I knew this was right.

"I'm most looking forward to the cultural experience and seeing Anaiah experience going overseas and receiving a full cultural immersion.


"It's about teaching her about serving at a young age."

Gilly and Anaiah will be working in an orphanage for six hours each day teaching English, basic computer skills, helping on field trips and helping out wherever they can.

Anaiah will work alongside her mum and has been fundraising to buy knitting needles to take over and teach the other children how to knit.

Staying with a host family, to get to the orphanage they will walk 20 minutes to the bus stop and then travel on the bus for 45 minutes each way.

"We will receive a crash course in Spanish as soon as we get there and just hope we don't get altitude sickness.

"When people ask why we're doing it and say 'why Peru', I just thought why not Peru?

"A lot of people are doing things in their own way to make this a better world, and for me this is what resonates with me.

"I know we are just two people in the world, but to one person we could be the world, the difference they are looking for.

"This is a lot more scary than collecting money for wells or shaving your hair [things Gilly has done in the past for charity], it's huge. It's not a holiday, but it will be good to see how easy we've got it in this country."

Aiming to leave by June, the pair will be off as soon as they've raised the money.

Needing to fundraise $9000 for the trip, organising movie fundraisers, going to the Waikanae Market each week selling baking and raffles, the two are stepping out of their comfort zone in many ways.

To purchase tickets to their next movie fundraiser Tolkien, showing on June 13, call Gilly on 027 379 8889 or visit their Givealittle page here.