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Project for Life

The first priority in each community in which Peru’s Challenge works is to see that the school is transformed into a safe, happy learning environment supported fully by the government and community. 

After this is accomplished, Peru’s Challenge turns its focus to the community as a whole through Project for Life, to ensure that not only are the community’s children looked after, but each member enjoys the opportunity to have their needs met and enhance their quality of life.


Project for Life background and objectives

Every day, the members of our communities push on through the devastating effects of the unrelenting lifestyle they lead.  There is a family with four children in Pumamarca who are regularly thrown out of their home in the middle of the night by a father under the influence of alcohol.  While so many of us know that we are safe and secure, these children never know whether they will have a safe place to sleep for the night. 

In Quilla Huata lives family of six, of which the parents are both ill with a chronic disease, and thus cannot work.  Unable to attain even a meager standard of nourishment, all four of their young girls are severely malnourished and are constantly ill.  Another family of six living with their grandmother slept together in the bare frame of a double bed without mattress, blankets, or pillows.

There are countless women who have miscarried babies due to malnourishment, illness, over work, and overuse of their bodies.  These stories are not rare; they are the norm, and they are the reasons Project for Life is so very important to the communities.

As everyone who has volunteered with us knows, the kids are vibrant and happy at the school, but the situation at home is difficult.  Many of the children and adults suffer not only from malnutrition and illness, but from the effects of alcoholism, neglect, and lack of opportunity.  Though the community members are working hard to generate income and opportunities through the Talleres mother’s group (a skills workshop focused on training women in the community to produce arts and crafts for sale), attending school and so on, there is still a severe lack of funds necessary to achieve a desirable quality of life.  Thus, the Project for Life Programme, launched in 2007, aims to supplement families in their endeavor to provide for themselves until they are able to become entirely self-sufficient.

The Project for Life Fund is in essence the community’s fund. It is made up of three focus areas:  Education and small business development, House Challenge, and, Health.  All contributions from sponsors will be distributed evenly across the community (the percentage split will be dependent on which fund is most in need at the time.)  This will allow us to buy whatever is most needed for any family in the scheme, without delay.  Peru’s Challenge assesses the needs of the community and helps community members and sponsors work together to improve the situation.  The projects undertaken as part of Project for Life help the community combat long term problems such as malnutrition, chronic illness, and lack of opportunities.  In true Peru’s Challenge style, sustainability is the key and every community member is expected to learn and work alongside Peru’s Challenge to make the desired changes.


Education and small business development*

The best way to promote sustainability within the communities is to help community members become educated and skilled. Thus, the first focus area of Project for Life is devoted to three primary areas.  First, is intensive English classes and enrollment in trade or technical courses for teenagers and adults.  Second, is supplementary provision of resources such as tuition and transportation costs for children in secondary education facilities.  Finally, is our beloved Talleres workshops devoted to teaching micro-business skills to adults in the community.  Talleres, or skills workshops, aim to train community members in raising guinea pigs, chicken, trout, dairy animals, and flowers.  Other Talleres focus on producing art and crafts for sale, building a community bakery, and learning the valuable skills of carpentry, cooking and construction.

Peru’s Challenge will create a community institute where community members can attend classes in English, trades, and other subject areas in the future. This will make the community more self-sustaining and would save large losses of money and time as community members will no longer have to travel to the city to reach these resources.

*This portion of the fund is of the utmost importance as through education and development of marketable life skills, community members will be presented with sustainable opportunities to maintain a high quality of life.  Not only are these skills valuable for community members now, but they provide a means for families to continue in self-sufficiency long after Peru’s Challenge has begun work in other communities.


House Challenge

Many homes in the community are missing the basics of life, such as glass in the windows, doors, proper walls, beds, blankets and pots and pans for the kitchen.  Temperatures in the mountain communities of Peru can drop as low as -10 degrees Celcius.  Without sufficient shelter and the basics, the situation becomes severe and Peru’s Challenge relies on this fund to provide essential materials such as beds and blankets that families are missing.  Malnourishment, smoke inhalation from cooking fires, and poor health resulting from unclean water are also constant strains on members of the communities in which Peru’s Challenge works.  Thus, this area of the fund also allows us to undertake large-scale community projects such as planting fruit trees for each family, building chimneys for proper ventilation of wood fire smoke, and installing the necessary fixtures for running water and electricity.



This area of the project fund is devoted to physical as well as mental and emotional health.  Its aim is to treat problems arising from poor living condition and a lack of nutrition in the communities as well as to provide advocacy and support for dealing with social problems such as alcoholism and domestic violence among others.  In 2008, four particularly brutal cases of physical and sexual violence against women and children have been attended to because of the funds made available through Project for Life.  Medical campaigns such as general medicine, dental, optometry, anti-parasite, and women’s health, emergency provision of food packages, and individual attention from the social worker are included in this fund.  The importance of these regular campaigns is evident as in 2008, during a community-wide women’s health campaign, 90% of the women who received consultation with the gynecologist had some form of infection and 40% percent of those were severe. 

Currently, the health fund is helping to support our school kitchen which was started in November 2008 to ensure that every one of the 140 children has access to two balanced, nutritious meals a day. Project for Life has helped fund its set up, and will continue to supply foods not available within the community, and pay a small salary to the mothers that cook the meals each day.  The kitchen is expected to be self-sustaining in one year’s time and the fund’s involvement in this project will be phased out over time.  Peru’s Challenge also looks forward to commencing a similar scheme for a community-wide kitchen to be supported initially by the health fund.


How we evaluate and work with those in need

The Peru’s Challenge social worker communicates with every family in each community to determine what the needs are and conducts house visits with volunteers and Peru’s Challenge staff four afternoons a week.  During a visit, our volunteers carry out projects with the family (ie chimney building, tree planting) while our social worker assesses the progress of the family in the areas of health and hygiene, family dynamics, social issues, education, and overall quality of life.  Frequently an idea or solution for one family may be extended to other families to ensure that the entire community is benefitting from the work of Peru’s Challenge.  An example of this is creating a network of bread ovens in the community as a small business initiative rather than only making this available to one family.  During house visits, other volunteers will be overseeing the progress of our Talleres classes, ensuring participants are learning new skills and producing marketable products for sale.  Your money will make it possible to give attention to issues discovered during house visits, provide resources for education or rehabilitation, and ensure the highest possible quality of life for community members.


Intensive work with families in the community

Working with several families simultaneously has meant goals have taken longer to reach.  We will work with one specific family in each community on an ongoing basis (as long as necessary to achieve desired outcomes), until identified goals have been met and sufficient improvement made. This approach will ensure that families do not fail to achieve meaningful outcomes.  Additionally, Peru’s Challenge works to build each family’s capacity for change by providing small homework assignments that help them adjust to and take responsibility for the changes taking place in their household. 

A small group of young adults in the community will also be targeted for intensive English training during the time the social worker and volunteers are conducting house visits and Talleres sessions.  These students will be expected to maintain a high standard of commitment and work ethic while they learn this valuable skill.  These students will also be expected to pursue further education in a trade or technical training course upon completion of their English training.


How sponsors contribute to the success of the community

Although the work of Peru’s Challenge would be impossible without the dedication of our hard-working volunteers, without the financial and relational backing of our sponsors, our communities would not have the opportunity to thrive and develop independently as they do.  

Previously, sponsors were matched with a particular family towards which all of their funds went; this meant that only a small number of families were receiving assistance.  Along with concern regarding what the sponsored families would do when Peru’s Challenge left their community, this style of funding for Project for Life was causing growing jealousy and animosity between those families who were being sponsored and those who were not, even between siblings who were being sponsored directly and those who were not.  Thus, in order to prevent inequalities in service provision, ensuring that we are helping the entire community, and guard from creating false hope for both families and sponsors, all sponsor funds will be distributed evenly across the communities.  By donating towards the overall Project for Life fund you make it possible for community members to attain the resources and opportunities necessary to eradicate poverty and elevate their quality of life.  By empowering community members to provide for themselves, you can ensure they will enjoy a higher quality of life long after Peru’s Challenge has completed its work in the community. 

We will discuss with you some of the current needs in the community and how your contribution can be used to meet those needs.  You advise us how much you can contribute, and we will take care of the rest. 

We are deeply grateful for your monetary support, but also want to stress the importance of relational and emotional support for your amigos in the community, so we encourage cards, letters, photos, and care packages (clothes, books, pencils etc.).  We will send updates to our sponsors on a quarterly basis reporting on the status of your amigos and the community as a result of your support.  We will also translate and deliver letters between sponsors and their amigos in the communities.

Below you will find the funding levels required for Project for Life.  If you would like to see specific Project for Life projects broken down into more detailed budgets, please contact us.  

Become a Project for Life sponsor by emailing us at .


Funding aim

                    Total:  $60,000

                    House Challenge:                        $20,000

                    Health, Hygiene, and Nutrition:  $10,000

                    Education and Development:      $30,000


            This level of funding requires 180 sponsors this year.

Funding achieved for year 2009

                        Total: $14,000

                        House Challenge:                       $7,000; 35% of funds

        Health, Hygiene, and Nutrition:  $7,000; 35% of funds

                        Education and Development:     $7,000; 35% of funds

         We are currently supported by 19 sponsors, of the 180 needed.

*As Peru’s Challenge meets with families and understands community needs more fully, we are able to determine how funds may be best allocated.  It is important that community members demonstrate improvement as well as a reasonable capacity to use wisely and effectively the assistance they are offered.  Thus, please note that Peru’s Challenge reserves the right to use any funds allocated to Project for Life as they determine is necessary and most beneficial for the community. 

Peru’s Challenge is seeking funding in order to maintain current programs as well as funding to begin new programs listed below.  We are ready to partner with you on these exciting projects through Project for Life.  Please contact us to discuss how you can help Peru’s Challenge build sustainable communities and strong, independent families for life.


Results to date, 2005-2009 working with the Pumamarca, Quilla Huata, and Miski Uno communities

In 2009, 1,328 community members received services through Project for Life in the communities of Pumamarca, Quilla Huata, and Miski Uno.  Of these 1,328 individuals, 800 comprising 100 families were assisted in Pumamarca, 384 comprising 48 families were assisted in Quilla Huata, and, 120 comprising 18 families in Miski Uno.  Additionally, four emergency cases, involving a total of 24 individuals, were attended to.  These cases were related to either alcoholism and domestic violence, or sexual abuse of women and minors.


Education and small business development

  • Increase from 13 students to 150 at local community primary school in the last two years.

  • Commendation from Department of Education and acknowledgement of Pumamarca as ambassador school.

  • Commitment from Dept of Education to fund four teachers and to increase this to seven by 2010

  • Increased numbers of students entering secondary school:

-      2006:  1 of 3 grade six students (33%) entered secondary

-      2007:  6 of 9 grade six students (66%) entered secondary

-      2008:  12 of 13 grade six students (92%) entered secondary

-      2009: 16 of 16 grade sic students (100%) entered secondary

  • Creation of Workshop group for Mothers in the community to attend and learn craft skills such as weaving, knitting and jewellery making. Attendance has increased from 23 to 208, in two years with the women earning an average wage of $40 USD per week.

  • Construction of building for Talleres mother’s group.

  • Established partnerships with visiting tour groups to exhibit and sell Talleres products.

  • Established partnership with San Sebastian Council for training in building guinea pig and flower market small businesses.


House Challenge

  • Built 19 houses for families in need

  • Assisted in installation of working drainage system to make collection of water more effective for families

  • Installation of 35 chimneys in Pumamarca

  • Planting of 4 fruit trees in the garden of each of the 200 families in Pumamarca and 2 trees for each of 130 families in Quilla Huata and Miski Uno

  • Distribution of 2 blankets per family in Pumamarca

  • Provision of mattresses to all families sleeping on wooden bed frames

  • Equipped 22 families with beds, mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets.

  • Distribution of 200 pairs of shoes and clothes for 100 members

  • Resolution of 16 cases of domestic violence and alcoholism



  • Installation of a water reservoir at the school to provide safe drinking water
  • Installation of sink, shower, and flushing toilets with a septic tank outside of each house in Pumamarca
  • Development of a hygiene program teaching the children how to wash their face and hands and brush their teeth
  • Built and equipped a kitchen so that nutritious meals can be prepared and supplied to the children at school by the community mothers everyday
  • 10 medical campaigns including gynaecological checks, quarterly dental checks, quarterly anti-parasite treatments, 2 general medical campaigns, and yearly eye examinations
  • Provided 64 food packages
  • Educational program educating community members in the areas of hygiene and nutrition, family planning, domestic violence, alcoholism, and legal rights
  • Cases of domestic violence decreased from 96% to 42% in Pumamarca due to Talleres.

Aims of Project for Life 2011 – 2012

Education and small business development

  • Distribution of appropriate school resources for all children at Quilla Huata and Pumamarca primary schools
  • 100% attendance of eligible students to secondary school
  • Creation of sustainable tuition scholarship fund for university-eligible students in the communities.
  • Construction of secondary school.
  • Creation of Talleres workshops:  bread oven, chicken coop, bee hives.
  • Registration of community members in further training and trade schools and employment counselling for these individuals.


House Challenge

  • Installation of chimneys in every home in Pumamarca and Quilla Huata

  • Provision of basic necessities for cooking and sleeping quarters in Quilla Huata

  • Introduction of services rendered to Miski Uno community

  • Connect all houses to electricity, closed piping, toilets and sewage system



  • 4 inclusive health campaigns in the communities of Pumamarca, Quilla Huata, and Miski Uno
  • Local doctor clinic functioning and self-sufficient, including regular visits from medical professionals and follow-up treatment.
  • Sustainability of Pumamarca school kitchen and withdrawal of Project for Life funds
  • 30% decrease in malnourishment and water-born illness as a result of health campaigns, educational sessions, toilets and clean water
  • Construct and supply community kitchens in Pumamarca and Quilla Huata

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