Tío Rafa: More than a Brother
NPH Peru House Director Rafael Arce shares his story.
March 13, 2019 - Peru
In NPH there are so many stories to tell, so many testimonials, so many experiences that words alone cannot accurately portray. The case is even more so when these stories come from individuals who, after growing up in the NPH family, decide to continue working with us, committing their lives in service of the younger members in our home. Meet Rafael Arce, our house director at NPH Peru.
On January 24, 1994, ‘Uncle Rafa’ arrived at NPH. Only 10 years old, arriving with his three brothers, he began his new life with the NPH family in Honduras. He had left a very difficult family situation and his family did not have the resources to give him an education and the well-being that a 10-year-old child needs. NPH was happy to welcome him and his brothers.
Life at NPH provided Rafa the full-time care and resources he needed to develop wholly as a child—consistent and high-quality education, meals, shelter, and other necessities. Like many who go through big life changes, however, adapting to a new place, new people, and trying to find his place was difficult. Through the difficulties of change, though, Tío Rafa found that the people he ended up meeting along the way were the ones who helped him move forward.
Rafa is a psychologist by profession. Upon graduation from university, he looked for work outside NPH. In 2013, however, he received an opportunity to interview within the family, but this time in Peru. He decided to return to his native country of Honduras, though, and spent the next four years between NPH homes in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Now, he is back in Peru and he is here to stay!
Rafa has been our house director since April 2018. Every day, he says, is its own adventure. There is always something new to do.
His core responsibility is to ensure high quality care of the children, working with our caregivers and coordinators to evaluate the best and most efficient processes to safeguard their health and welfare.
Each day he coordinates a variety of activities and always remains in communication with the psychology department and other areas related to family care. “Our mission is to ensure that children can put into practice the value of responsibility,” he says.
Something that has stuck with Rafa and informs the way he works are lessons he learned from his father. “From a very young age, he instilled in me the value of work. I worked with him very early. He took me to NPH Honduras, because he knew that we would have a better future there. And then at NPH, there was Tío Aristides who was a humble person that always taught me respect and advised me. He was very attentive with us children. He taught me the vocation of service that is so important to NPH. Thanks to him, I understand that the active support of our children is fundamental for them to achieve their own goals. They need someone to guide them, who can teach them and motivate them on a day-to-day basis.”
Tío Rafa tells us that the most exciting part of his job is serving the children. “They keep me alive and inspire me to keep going.”