Ciudad de los Niños

A Busted Halo Service Trip to a Peruvian orphanage (plus some ways you can help from home)

With the success of our Spiritual Seekers Camino pilgrimage, we decided to explore expanding the offerings of Busted Halo-themed travel for young adults. In partnership with Franciscan Spirit Tours this summer we accompanied college students from the University of Memphis on a service trip to Peru. The volunteers spent a week clearing a space to install a water purification system inside Ciudad de los Niños, a Franciscan-run orphanage for 300 children in Lima. They also took the time to film their project and discuss how the trip affected them physically, emotionally and, of course, spiritually.

How You Can Help

Ciudad de los Niños has been run for over 50 years by the Capuchin Franciscans and it sustains itself financially by making products such as clothes, furniture and baked goods. A microcosm of true Christian community, workers and students alike pitch in to make their own school uniforms, bunk beds, desks, bookshelves and meals. They also provide services such as haircuts and car repairs.

The orphanage is always looking for new markets in which to sell their products such as school uniforms, T-shirts, medical garb and similar articles of clothing. “We’ve developed a system for processing orders,” says John Mattras, president of Franciscan Spirit Tours and a volunteer advisor to the Ciudad de los Niños. A number of Catholic schools are now having uniforms made by the orphanage at a cost approximately one-third lower than American suppliers.

“The school forwards a sample of the item they are currently using,” says Mattras, “and the Ciudad de los Niños makes as exacting a copy as possible and quotes a price, which is then submitted to the client. If the client is satisfied with the product sample they provide and the price, they can place an order for as many uniforms or other items they wish to purchase.” The students make the items as part of their sewing class, which is time-limited to two hours a day, three days a week. Any additional need for labor is provided by hiring local residents.

In addition to encouraging our readers to consider making purchases from Ciudad de los Niños, Busted Halo is collecting DVDs and/or donations to build a video library for the orphanage. Recently, the school received donations of a Blu-ray DVD player and a standard DVD player. They would like to show age-appropriate movies (12-and-under and 13-18) to the kids once a week. If you have any suitable videos you are thinking of tossing , please consider donating them to the Ciudad de los Niños.

Contact info

For more information on purchasing items from the Ciudad de los Niños, making donations, or going on future Busted Halo service projects, please contact John Mattras at

Spiritual Seeker Scholarships

In an effort to make future travel excursions affordable to as many people as possible, Busted Halo is forming a scholarship fund that will subsidize travel for those who are unable to pay the full price. Benefactors may make donations sponsoring young adults or seminarians and those contemplating religious life who may benefit from our Spiritual Seekers Adventure or Volunteer Travel. The spiritual seekers partaking in these Busted Halo travels will carry the intentions of their benefactors with them. Our goal is to create an experience that will benefit the spiritual lives of both our benefactors and those in their 20s and 30s who wish to participate directly. For more information please contact .