Founded in 2004 by Leonidas Gavancho and his wife Eunice, The Sunflower Orphanage is located in the small village of Huayllabamba, in the heart of Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru. It is still cared for and managed today by Leo and Eunice along with their daughter, Marilyn, and her husband Allen.
While working on the police force, Leo would see many children needing to be taken in by the government to be cared for and protected. Leo ran a small local children’s care facility that was owned by the Peruvian government. During this time he saw that there was a great need for helping children that were abandoned or who had lost their parents to terrorism, starvation, illness and the like. Leo would also see small children in very poor, distant villages walking many miles to and from school each day. He was moved by their efforts to continue pursuing an education. Having grown up very poor and in a similar circumstance, Leo had much empathy for these children.
Leo hoped for many years that one day he would be able to do something more, but the attention and care of his wife and four children was his first priority. He wondered if he would ever be able to accomplish his dream. Shortly after Leo’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he made a promise to God that if his wife would get better he would do everything in his power to help and serve others, particularly the little children in need.
As Leo’s wife started recovering and doing better he was determined to keep his promise. He worked hard to serve little children and soon started a small orphanage in his own second home in the Sacred Valley. His Father, Guillermo Gavancho, recognized his efforts and donated a parcel of farming where the orphanage could be built. Leo and Eunice, with the help of many wonderful and generous people, including family and friends, the beautiful Sunflower Orphanage was created. Leo and Eunice are in great health and enjoy visiting the orphanage frequently to assist in the care of the children living there.