It was September 1, 2016 when the three teams deployed: medical, education, and disaster relief. Part 2 of this series covers the Healthy Communities educational volunteers.
Quechua Benefit has been learning how to best serve highland communities in Peru since 1996. It took many years to gain the trust of more than fifty communities. The Quechua people have been subjugated by the Inca, invaded by the Spanish, and neglected by the elite ruling classes for more than 1,000 years. Trust is not their first reaction when someone says, “we are here to help,” and we understand why.
Quechua Benefit’s Healthy Communities project is predicated on creating sustainable programs administered by the local communities themselves. It is about empowering people with education, preventative medical solutions, and resources such as access to economic markets, all of which can be incorporated seamlessly into their everyday lives.
The education component of the program involves creating libraries in existing schools, hosting education workshops for the existing teachers, and introducing computer skills into their courses. We also would like to incorporate Quechua cultural programs, such as curriculum for reading and writing the Quechua language, which is steadily being lost and forgotten.
Sue Regier, the Director of Casa Chapi, and Cassondra Puls of PASS, a Washington D.C. consulting firm, did in-depth interviews of Casa Chapi’s five teachers, four educational staff members, 63 students, and all of their parents. The interviews were conducted in-person at Casa Chapi over a 10-day period.
Cassondra is an education-sector professional and development practitioner who specializes in creating school curriculum in developing nations. Sue spent her entire career working in academia at the college level.
Together they consulted with Peruvian educational experts to determine how 1) Casa Chapi might become a model project in the context of Healthy Communities 2) how to incorporate both Quechua and English into Casa Chapi’s existing curriculum 3) develop meaningful teacher training, both at Casa Chai and for other teachers at local schools 4) increase achievement in students at Casa Chapi and their sister schools throughout the Colca Valley.
Their findings from these 15 days can be viewed by clicking here. We will draw upon these insights as we build on our success and craft plans for the improvement and expansion of our education programs.
Stay tuned for the next two installments of A Peek Behind the Curtain.