Escuela Wiñaypaq

Offers free primary education in Quechua and Spanish to needy local children.

The school was established in 2005, in the small district of Taray in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, to:

- Improve the children's education in this disadvantaged rural area; and

- To strengthen the Andean culture and traditional values such as respect and harmony, to raise the children's self-confidence and to make them feel proud of their cultural heritage.

The school was started after Waltraud Stolben, a German social educator, visited the community and became aware that most of the children were natives living in extreme poverty with no access to proper education. Working with the people from the different local communities around Taray District: Huandar, Qaqaqollo, Pisac, Ampay, Sonqo, Japu and Kiko, she helped establish this non-profit community based school.  Since 2006 it has been officially recognized by the Peruvian Government as a private school.

Peruvian schools usually have their curriculum in Spanish, even in rural areas where Quechua is the native language.  The philosophy at Wiñaypaq is to respect their native language and respect for their culture and their environment, focusing on the relationship between the man and the 'Pachamama' or 'mother earth' in Quechua. As poor nutrition reflects in the children's attention span, the school provides nutritional Andean food, based on grains like quinoa, maca and kiwicha which are rich in proteins and minerals.

Very sadly, in early 2010, Escuela Wiñaypaq was destroyed in the heavy rain, flooding and mud slides that devastated parts of the Cusco region.  The town of Taray was the second most damaged town (after Huacarpay) in the region and tragically, seven people died and a high percentage of the community's homes were severely damaged or totally destroyed.  But Waltraud was determined that there be minimal disruption to the children's education, so while their classes continued at a temporary location, new buildings were built with support from many Intrepid traveller donors.

The new school is being built at Huandar, 10 minutes from Pisac town and hopefully in a less vulnerable location. 54 children will attend either the kindergarten or primary school classes and they have 6 teachers.  It is close to completion.  Your support through the Intrepid Foundation this year, will help them to complete the buildings to full secure lock-up stage, fit out and equip the kitchen, provide furniture and shelving, and purchase teaching materials and stationery items.  Once fully functional again, they will return to some of their income-generation projects like the selling of home made cookies, muesli and natural ointments to travellers, to run workshops in skills such as screen-printing, record CDs with Andean music -  all projects to help financially sustain the school in the future.

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