Here is our experience in choosing a charity to support for our Pan American ride in 2011 …

Both Jock and I have previously travelled extensively throughout the world and have been touched by the generosity and gracious hospitality of the people (often in less fortunate communities) that they visited.

We decided that this time we want to give something back by fundraising for a grassroots project in one of the communities that they will be travelling through.
To do this we have chosen to partner with the Intrepid Foundation as we feel that the Foundation’s work best matches their ideals for giving back to a deserving community.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities – in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

All donations made to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar, up to the value of AU$300,000 per year and for a maximum of AU$5,000 total per donor for the financial year. All costs are covered by Intrepid Travel.

Escuela Wiñaypaq

The specific project that we will be fundraising to support is the rebuilding of the Escuela Wiñaypaq (Winaypaq School).

In the small district of Taray in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, a school was established in 2005, to provide free primary education in Quechua and Spanish to needy local children. Its two main objectives are to:

  • Improve the children’s education in this disadvantaged rural area, and
  • To strengthen the Andean culture’s traditional values such as respect and harmony in order 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 conditions with no access to proper education. Working with the people from the different local communities around Taray District: Huandar, Qaqaqollo, Pisaq, 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 and currently has 34 students.

The school’s philosophy is to respect their native language (bearing in mind that schools in Peru have a curriculum in Spanish even in rural areas); 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.

Escuela Wiñaypaq receives no government funding and depends entirely on individual and business support. They also have some small income from the selling of home made cookies, muesli and natural ointments to travellers. Part of their project plan is to run workshops such as screen-printing to produce goods like instructional materials, Andean tales, recording CDs with Andean music, etc. for their own use and also for sale to help financially sustain the school in the future.

2010 Floods

In March 2010 the town of Taray saw horrific floods and mud slides. Very tragically, seven people have died and a high percentage of the community’s homes have been severely damaged or totally destroyed.
Escuela Wiñaypaq was destroyed – the classrooms, kitchen, fish farm, workshops and teachers room are all in ruins. We urge you to give what you can so that we may help the school and lives of the children to return to normality as soon as possible.

Check out photos of the school and the damage caused by the floods.