President Emeritus, Reverend Roberto P. Perez, has dedicated most of his life to Alfalit International. He has led the charge in fighting illiteracy from Africa to South America. When he arrived to the United States from Cuba, Roberto could not read or write in English and experienced the personal need for literacy first-hand. That realization along with his faith which required him to do something for someone else, ignited in him the need to help others.
In 1967, Roberto was invited by Alfalit founders to attend a literacy seminar in the Dominican Republic. Since then, Roberto has been a volunteer for over 50 years. Along with the support of his wife, Lilliam, he has witnessed Alfalit International grow, touch and change the lives of more than eight million people.
Reverend Perez describes Alfalit International as a group of faith-driven people concerned with helping those less fortunate to get out of the negative dependence caused by ignorance. Alfalit’s purpose is to help people and to cover part of their social, emotional and physical needs. Alfalit’s literacy program offers more than just teaching letters, words and numbers, it also provides spiritual support.
On October 20th, 2011, Reverend Perez was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for his longtime leadership and commitment as president of Alfalit. He was one of only 13 to be honored that year out of 6,000 people nominated. President Obama stated, ”This year’s recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves. They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American, and I am honored to be able to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”
Throughout his life, Reverend Perez has been fortunate to have the “privilege of giving” to help those who need it most. He invites those who feel this calling to not hesitate to start the journey — the way of love — that for he and for so many missionaries has been the essence of their lives. “In life, I think that the best thing that we can leave this world is that we made a difference in the life of someone.”
Through The Years