Here at Nativa Expeditions we care deeply about the education of children. Despite the thriving tourist industry; with the city’s romantic streets, colonial buildings and stunning views, there is unhappier side to Cusco.
It is estimated that over the last 25 years its population has grown to 395,000. Many families from rural disadvantaged areas have migrated to the ancient capital, attracted by the opportunities for work. Settlements have formed on the fringes of the city and are growing rapidly. These communities are open to more dangerous living circumstances and health problems. Contrary to the ideologies held, the majority of this indigenous population is excluded from the economic process.
These unfortunate events have the greatest impact on the children. Tourism is at the highest it has ever been in the region; ironically the levels of poverty are also at an all time high. The Peruvian government estimates that around 35% of children under the age of 16 live in extreme poverty.
With 20% of the population unable to speak Spanish (Quechua and Aymara are the ancient languages spoken by rural communities) this minority are often excluded or have no access to formal education. Similarly, those children from impoverished rural families who speak Spanish rarely continue their education past 8 years. This results in a future excluded from economic processes.
Self-education and comprehension practice, such as reading books and homework are not encouraged at home. Instead practical work for the family’s survival takes presidency. Many families live precarious lives selling crafts, local snacks and doing tough backbreaking work. Children can be exploited and miss out on simple but fundamental opportunities to develop.
Our aim is to provide extra education and books to children in these communities. It is embedded into our agency’s philosophy that we have a duty to provide support, where possible, to the people who make up our society.
Our main project is taking those children that live in remote areas to be educated on their rich cultural history. Along with guides and transport we take groups to sites such as Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco City and many more. The majority of these children never have the opportunity to visit these places due to the high rise in transport costs. It is our hope that this exposure will ignite interest and opportunities in Cusco’s strongest industry.
Nativa Expeditions is able to do this with the money we earn from your trips. Every month 20% of our intake is put into Cusco Children’s Fund and used to buy books, run homework groups and run trips to Archeological sites and National Parks.
If you are interested in any of this work, we can arrange for you to accompany some of our groups, or help at one of our classes.