In the Sacred Valley of Peru, the world’s most direct descendants of the Inca Empire live in extreme poverty, struggling to meet even the most basic of needs. One of the most severe problems for rural villages in the region is a lack of access to public services. For example, children have to walk up to two hours to attend elementary school, and secondary school is virtually nonexistent. While boys tend to move into urban centers for work and education, girls stay in their villages. Without an education, they have few opportunities. Many become mothers before reaching the age of eighteen.
In order to help provide girls of the Sacred Valley with an education, the community has provided a temporary low-rent building that the Sacred Valley Project converted into a dormitory so that the girls can attend school in the closest town. The dormitory provides more than just a place to sleep in order to attend school. The Sacred Valley Project, a New Jersey-based non-profit, is working to raise money to maintain the dormitory and provide the girls with school fees, empowerment education and vocational training. The hope is when these women return to their villages, they can become teachers, business owners, or even, go to college.
The pilot dormitory opened at the start of the school year in March 2010, and was the first step towards improving access to secondary education for a few young women of the highlands. In the first year of operation, The Sacred Valley Project gained support from local and international community’s alike, and in the fall of 2010, signed a contract with the Indigenous Community of Ollanta to occupy a much more ample and inviting location. In this new space, The Sacred Valley Project now houses 12 students and provides supplementary and remedial educational support for all of the students. The Sacred Valley Project aspires to facilitate cultural pride and self respect in the students, enabling them to be indigenous leaders who generate positive growth and economic development through education.
The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation has granted $1,800 to The Sacred Valley Project, specifically to provide funding for a math tutor, because the young women are struggling with math. The grant funding will cover the tutor’s salary for the year, as well as provide books and supplemental materials for the tutor to utilize in working with the young women in the Sacred Valley.
Would you like to meet a few of the young women who will be impacted by this grant? Be sure to check out The Sacred Valley Project’s website, Facebook page or Twitter to follow their progress! Tell them the Circle of Sisterhood values the work they are doing to empower women in Peru.