Antonia Ríos-Boubnoff is one of Peruvian Project’s major contributors. On February 14, 2014 Antonia celebrated her 100th birthday. She was born Antonia Del Carmen Ríos Ríos in Soritor, a village located a few miles from Moyobamba.
She was about four years old when she lost her mother and went to live with her grandmother. After her grandmother died, Antonia was raised by a couple of her aunts.
When Antonia was 15 years old, she found herself without a place to live, but thanks to some Christian missionaries, Antonia was able to work in exchange for room and board. When she was 19 years old, these missionaries helped her get into a nursing school in Lima, which was associated with of one of the better hospitals in the city. She paid for her classes by working in the hospital. Four years later she graduated as a Nurse and continued to work there until she met her future husband, a Russian-American engineer.
In 1941 Antonia traveled to the US (NYC) with a “fiancé visa”. Her marriage was brief, but she decided to make a life in the USA. She found work, learned English and prepared for her Nursing License. After 10 years in this country Antonia became a USA citizen and a year later she passed her nursing exams. For the next 48 years she lived and worked in NYC. Antonia never remarried nor had children.
In 1999, at the age of 85, she moved to the Rochester NY area to live with her great niece, Luisa E. Rios-Owens in order to be closer to her family.
In 2001 she visited her hometown for the first time in 60 years. She was shocked to see a great number of underprivileged children working on the streets instead of attending school. When presented with the opportunity, she got involved in supporting a program through Peruvian Project that helped the neediest children of the town of Moyobamba to get an education. Antonia was able to see the results of her support during several visits to the program in Moyobamba.
Now, due to her age, she cannot travel very far, but she still asks about “the children” and is very aware of her participation in making a difference in their lives. Antonia remembers her own life as young person and wants to give a helping hand to children who suffer from the same hardships she did. Antonia has also supported other causes that help children, like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, UNICEF, and Catholic Relief Services.