“To move forward, you have to give back” Oprah Winfrey
When Action Peru Treks began operating in 2015, one of our first goals as a locally founded company was to become “community friendly”. That is, to find a way to help the local communities upon whose history and legacies our tours would be based.
Beginning with recruitment, we selected the porters, horsemen and kitchen staff from these communities, quickly finding that their knowledge, strength and skills were to become integral to the success of our tours. Staff soon became friends, and as friendships grew we began to understand some of the challenges that these remote communities still experience, despite their relative proximity to the developed tourist operations of cities like Cusco and Aguas Calientes.
One such community is Sacsayhuaman where nearly all of our porters, and many of our chef staff live with their families. Belonging to the province of Quispicanchis, the community is settled at an altitude of 3,700m about 4 hours South East of Cusco. A remote, traditional community, their main source of income is from agriculture and Llama farming; a world away from the tourist industries of Cusco.
As we talked with our team, we were shocked to learn that there is actually no school in the town and that to receive a formal education, the children currently have to walk almost 3 hours (each way!) to the nearest school. Come rain, come shine, come snow, come hail, the children spend almost 6 hours a day on the road. Naturally this enormous physical undertaking for such young bodies deterred many, and as a result many children in the town were receiving little or no education.
And so the community leaders developed plans to build a school. They had access to the skilled labour, they had the desire to build, but they needed financial support.
Here at APT we immediately recognised not only that we could help, but that it was our civic duty to do so. We joined planning sessions in the town, and as the plans started to develop we were able to make a series of donations to allow the project to begin. We are delighted to say that in the Summer of 2017 the first foundations were laid, and within three short months the building work is now complete – our most recent donation helping to pay for the school roof!
The target is for the classrooms to be made ready for the first lessons by January or February 2018. This means not only completing the internal decoration, but also providing the books, computers, writing tools and other equipment that will make the school operational. To achieve this, more funding is needed.
We have therefore decided to increase the level of our donation to the school to help ensure it completes on scheduled early next year. So we will now be donating a small percentage of every trek that we sell directly to the school fund. This is our small way of ensuring that the next generation of the community will receive the best education they can, and all of the opportunities that brings.
We look forward to providing updates here on the progress of the school, and especially when it receives its first pupils early next year. Simply through booking your trek with APT, you are making a big contribution to this wonderful project. Thank you!