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Local teachers covering Peruvian curriculum
In order to get an agreement, RPC pays for five teachers in the first year, while the Department pays for one. The next year RPC pays for four teachers, and the Department pays for two. Eventually the Department will be fully funding the school.
As the department does not have the resources to fully fund the school in the first year, we have found that this is the most effective way to ensure the sustainability of the schools while also shifting the responsibility to the Department.
Volunteers teaching extra-curricular classes
We follow the Peruvian curriculum as well as having an English curriculum for volunteers to follow. Lessons are always planned and reported on so that the next volunteers can take-off from where the last group finished.
Educational excursions and inter-school participation
We cover costs for students to enter traditional dance and sports competitions. The Pumamarca dance team has won either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place (out of more than 40 schools) in the Cuzco Region Traditional Dance Competition, held in the main plaza of Cuzco for the last six years - something their parents and teachers are extremely proud of.
“Finish My Education” is a program that allows teenagers to finish secondary school (or primary school, if not already completed) so that they can have the choice to pursue further study at university.
“Further Education” is a program where young adults can undertake vocational training with the security of guaranteed employment at the completion of the program. Successful graduates of this program have gone on to work in car mechanics, hair and beauty, hotel administration, tourism, nursing, accounting, culinary arts and hospitality.
- How to prepare a nutritious meal - what are the food groups and why it is important to eat from each group
- Family planning advice & baby milestones - what to check for
- What are the affects of alcoholism and how can you get help
- What are my rights as a person
- How do I get the Peruvian National Identification Card for myself and my children, and how do I access the national health insurance scheme
Small business training
The small businesses program is highly successful in the communities and something we are very proud of.
We also offer additional business & finance training to support these programs and ensure that these programs become sustainable for local community members.
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Work is completed by local community members who have the skills and knowhow. Materials are bought directly from the community. Volunteers work side-by-side with the locals on all construction projects. Lot's of sign-language is used when our volunteers don't speak Spanish!
The type of building projects that we complete are classrooms, sports & play areas, toilet blocks, kitchens, and eating areas.
Small business infrastructure
We plan and construct all the infrastructure necessary for each of these businesses, as requested by community and school members.
Projects include building:
- bread ovens
- chicken coops, guinea pig cages and animal pens
- fully equipped workshops
Our job is to make living conditions better. We renovate existing houses by fixing roofs, installing smokeless stoves and chimneys, doors, putting glass in windows, building toilets and showers, connecting houses to electricity and a closed-piping system for clean drinking water in every household.
We build outdoor animal pens, provide beds, tables, chairs and cooking utensils - anything to make life a little easier.
We also build houses from scratch for families in need.
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Clean water & sanitation
In the short-term we provide water filters to every family and the schools. Over time, we use the knowledge of the locals to work with the community and find a clean water source - usually a natural spring found under a mountain. We then build reservoirs and under-ground piping systems into every house and school to ensure access to clean drinking water. We also build separate reservoirs and systems for the community to use for general clothes washing and for their animals to drink from.
To complement this program, we build drop-toilets for every house and flushing toilets within the schools connected to sewerage storage systems.
The Department of Education ensures all schools receive dental checks as part of a prevention program, however, no assistance is given for follow up emergency treatment.
Our programs ensure children brush their teeth each day and are educated on the importance of dental care.
Parasites are a major problem for school children. In the short-term we provide 6-monthly anti-parasite medication (provided by a local doctor). Now that we have a sustainable solution with our clean-drinking water system, we are finding that we don't need to do treatments so regularly.
The Peruvian government is meant to supply breakfast and lunch to every kindergarten and primary school child. Our first year at Pumamarca School, the government provided porridge for 12 children. As we had 150 registered, we covered the short-fall, on the proviso that each year the government would supply more and we would cover less, until the time came when the government was supplying breakfast to all children attending Pumamarca School.
Lunch was a harder issue to fix. Again, the government has a school food program but rarely do our schools receive it and it is extremely inadequate when it does arrive. it was important to find a solution that didn't involve the school relying on the government programs.
In the short-term we provided all ingredients to the school kitchen for the mothers to cook - we also trained them on how to cook a balanced meal hygienically. However, we needed to be able to sustain tho in the long term without the school needed to rely on us. We built greenhouses - six for every school so that each Grade is in charge of "their" greenhouse. The produce goes to the school kitchen and excess is sold down in the markets by parents. Income generate from these sales goes into purchasing oil, gas, rice, meat etc. - things that you can't grow in a greenhouse.
The Pumamarca School food program is now fully self-sufficient and sustainable. We now have 90% of all school children recording normal nutrition levels. The remaining 10% are malnourished (not severely) and are the young children just starting kindergarten.
We will organise for local practitioners, as well as medical and dental students, to visit every three months to provide consultations, medicines and follow up treatments. We also do quarterly medical checks for women.
At our first medical campaign with pap smears, 52 mothers came. 90% had an infection or STD. Of that 90%, 40% had serious infections. We provided medicine and follow-up treatments. We have now started having part of the income generated through Talleres sales put into a kitty, which will pay for the health campaigns.
Such issues have included surgery for a broken back at a work site (where the employer refused to pay), chemotherapy treatments, and serious lesions.
In one case, a 45-year-old woman, pregnant with her 12th child, miscarried whilst working in the fields. Her oldest daughter, a 21-year-old, found her and took her to the nearest hospital. Because there wasn’t a down payment, the doctors refused to help her - even though she was dying. The daughter found us, and we immediately paid 300 soles (US$100) to save her life. The next week, she was in fields, working again.
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Community members and volunteers work together to build the greenhouses specifically for families to maintain a business and generate income. Flowers and vegetables are then produced for consumption and to be sold in the markets in Cuzco, resulting in a better diet for the children in the family, and an increase the family's income. This improves the standard of living for families. Greenhouses also allow for the production of year-round crops rather than relying on the rainy season which is only from December to March.
Our families now have direct clients from Cuzco, including restaurants, hotels and shops, who travel to the communities because of the excellent quality of the produce.
Peru’s Challenge works with the community members to set-up small business ideas so they can source income from different areas. They also receive financial and business education so they can one day set up their own businesses.
The participants are mainly women. They become financially independent and take on more of a leading role in caring for their family. They feel very proud and value themselves. They actually say to their husband, “I am going to work now,” and then they would come back with money in their pockets.
The workshops within the community allow members to learn new skills in textiles, art and craft, building, cooking, carpentry, etc. Products are then sold to volunteer and tour groups. The women are now recording an average weekly income of US$25 per week - some as high as US$60.
In the Pumamarca community, with the help of the community members, we found a natural spring and connected a piping system into every small field - over 100! We then connected irrigation sprinklers which work by gravity. Each family takes it in turns to water their fields - no electricity needed.
This system now allows families to produce vegetables all year round and sell them in the markets in Cuzco - providing a constant stream of income. The produce is also organic and free of sprays - which means there is a great demand from restaurants in Cuzco.
Before each farm becomes self sufficient, initial costs include infrastructure, purchase of animals, feed, and medicines. An animal farm will provide an ongoing supply of meat and eggs, and bread from the oven. They will also provide a steady income (from selling excess in the Cuzco markets) and go towards the school kitchen by paying for gas, quinoa, rice, pasta, fish, and meats. This ensures it becomes self-sufficient within 24 months.
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Percentage of children attending school that were severely malnourished. Four years later, down to just 10%.
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