Read about Quechua Benefit’s educational programs for 2023, the latest Peru tour, new team members, the screening of Vicuña Salvation at EFFY, SLO and in 12 countries in South America, and other upcoming events.GAW-Newsletter-7.3-8.5×11
Read about Xeina and her experience at McDaniel college, our donor spotlight for Amanda VandenBosch, the latest Peru tour, Quechua Benefit’s partnership with ONEHOPE, the screening of Vicuña Salvation in Graz, Austria, and other upcoming events.GAW-Newsletter-7.2-8.5×11
October was a big month for Quechua Benefit’s feature length documentary, Vicuña Salvation. We participated in three premieres in Peru, each a little different than the other. But each audience loved it.
Dale with long time Quechua Benefit supporter (and photographer), Maria, at the Vicuña Salvation premiere in Picotani.
The audience at the premiere in Picotani.
This success would not have happened if you had not continued to support our organization during the COVID pandemic, keeping our programs strong during tough times, by virtue of your generous hearts.
The first premiere took place in Picotani and the community did all of the leg work to make it big! They promoted the film, invited government officials, held a ceremonial chaccu, and gathered the press. To the amazement of the community, Derek Michell of Michell & CIA SA and his entire executive staff were there in support of their efforts, most of whom had never been to Picotani. We were interviewed by a Quechua radio station that broadcasts from Puno. Thank goodness for translators!
Everyone watched in awe and loved the film. Soft murmurs and chuckles were heard in the audience as they recognized various community members on the big screen. They laughed, they cried, they applauded to the very end. A woman from the community thanked Quechua Benefit for visiting every year. “I don’t know how you find us here. The government in Lima does not know where we live.” Another women once told me: “Say we are here, say we exist.” I think this film will not only put our communities on the map, but make their story heard for the first time. It will be available for streaming on National Geographic – South America, beginning March 2023. This is all possible, thanks to you and our wonderful community.
Dale holding the water pipe that provides water 24 hours a day! From left to right: Dale, José, Felipe, and Guillermo.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the reveal of the Water Project in Picotani.
In addition to the premiere, the community proudly took us on a tour of the completed first phase of our water project that provides water to vicuña during the dry season. The 14 lagoons and 28 individual drinkers built across 2,500 acres will be able to support an additional 1,250 vicuña. It has the potential to double the size of the existing herd that historically grazes the site and provides the Picotani community an estimated $75,000 of additional annual income in perpetuity.
Proud is the best way to describe the energy felt during the ribbon cutting ceremony. This project was completed by community members, digging through the dry dirt and hand placing the miles and miles of pipe. This project would not have been possible without your generosity. Our Executive Director, Dale, worked closely with the community leaders to engineer the system. This water increases the pastures available for both vicuña and alpaca, which means more income for our alpaquero families. Thanks to your support, this is just phase one!
Students and staff at La Molina University pictured with Mike and Dale.
The next premiere was held at La Molina University, the only agricultural university in Peru. We had the opportunity to visit their campus and meet all the department heads. Our guide was Dr. Gustavo Gutierrez, head of the animal science department. He joined us in Picotani to witness the first of its kind water project and wanted to discuss the potential research project to establish the carbon footprint of alpacas. This study could make alpaca fiber more valuable worldwide if we can, together, establish its true sustainability and quantify what we believe is a much lower carbon footprint than competing fibers on the market.
Everyone at La Molina loved the film, especially the vet students. Many had no idea of the vicuña’s story of salvation from extinction. From the late 60s to present day, the vicuña population has increased from a mere 5,000 animals to approximately 500,000. During our visit, Dr. Gutierrez offered an open scholarship to their veterinary program for a potential Casa Chapi student who may be interested in the field of study.
The audience at the Arequipa premiere was full of alpaca industry movers and shakers.
A warm welcome to the Quechua Benefit team during the Arequipa premiere of Vicuña Salvation, hosted by Michell & CIA SA.
The last event was held in Arequipa, at the home of Michell’s founder, Frank Michell. Michell & CIA SA donated $50,000 to sponsor the making of our documentary. They put on a spectacular affair which coincided with the 90th anniversary of Michell & CIA SA.
There were over 600 attendees, dressed to the nines, sipping cocktails and noshing on tiny tidbits. What fascinated me was the crowd’s response was similar to that of the audience from Picotani. They were unfamiliar with the story of the vicuña, the animal that is on their country’s coat of arms. This crowd represent Peru’s elite and many of them were alpaca textile executives. I’ll let the photos illustrate the wide gap between the culture of Arequipa and Picotani.
Join us as we celebrate the graduating class of 2022! Our students faced so many challenges during the COVID pandemic. With their determination, hard work and your support, they are ready for the next step of their education journey!
Pictured above, in their red Casa Chapi uniforms, is our proud graduating class of 13 students. They will graduate Casa Chapi this month and move to our Arequipa campus to begin secondary school in March 2023.
From our Arequipa campus, we want to celebrate the following students on their upcoming graduation from Paola Frasinetti Secondary School this year.
We also heard from our Casa Chapi alumni who are currently at University.
Age: 16 years old. He has been at Casa Chapi since he started 1st grade in 2013.
Hobbies: Reading about current famous people and painting portraits and landscapes.
Favorite school subject: Language, literature, and history.
Career aspiration: Lawyer to defend poor people.
Age: 17 years old. He has been at Casa Chapi since he started 2nd grade in 2013.
Hobbies: Drawing, painting, and playing football (soccer).
Favorite school subject: Math
Career aspiration: Technical career
Age: 17 years old. He has been at Casa Chapi since he started 5th grade in 2016.
Hobbies: Playing guitar and fixing cell phones.
Favorite school subject: Physics and math
Career aspiration: Systems Engineer
Age: 18 years old. He has been at Casa Chapi since he started 4th grade in 2014.
Favorite school subject: Math
Career aspiration: Aviation Pilot
Age: 17 years old. She has been at Casa Chapi since she started 3rd grade in 2015.
Favorite school subject: Language and literature.
Career aspiration: Psychologist (desire to help children and poor families).
Current University Students / Casa Chapi Alumni
Jairol entered National University of Saint Augustine (UNSA) in Arequipa City this year. He is studying Geological Engineering.
Maria Fernanda is studying Business Administration at SENATI, a technical institute in Arequipa City.
Ronald has been studying Business Administration at SENATI since 2021.
Vidal will be studying to be a chef this year at Institute.
Isaac is studying at SENATI and should finish in 2023.
We thank our donors for the opportunity to make higher education possible for these students, and others like them. For those who have not donated and are interested, please click the button below.
Don’t forget! Our students are in need of encouragement as they transition into different grades, change schools, and graduate. Read all the details here.
Congratulations to the Casa Chapi class of 2022! Read about our Vicuña Salvation premiere in Picotani and Arequipa. Celebrate our ribbon cutting of the first phase of our Picotani Water Project, read our donor spotlight, how the Holiday Bazaar went, and results of End of Year Giving!GAW-Newsletter-7.1-8.5×11
Your support makes Casa Chapi possible. Find out how to become part of the family and pledge your support for Casa Chapi here.
This year, Quechua Benefit had a booth at the Holiday Gift Bazaar hosted by the Ladies of Laurel Social Club. We sold all sorts of alpaca products from yarn to felted soap to stickers. All the proceeds went to helping our Quechuan farming families in Peru. Thank you to all of you that attended. We appreciate you!
If you took photos and post on social media, please tag us @QuechuaBenefit. Thanks!
Pictured here: our booth at the bazaar right after set up. Our biggest sellers were our felted soaps, stuffed alpacas, and artisan gloves.
Pictured here: The upper floor of the bazaar with most of the vendors and guests in the frame.