Cusi Travel’s mission includes giving back to the community. All of our Cusi projects focus on improving education for the people living in the countryside. We focus our projects in a town called Mahuaypampa, which is the same town that travelers can visit on our Maras, Moray & Community Visit tour. We seek to teach children that their traditional culture and language are important and valuable, and that they can grow up to be anything they want to be. In the countryside surrounding Cusco, children who speak mostly Quechua and grow up on farms are often discriminated against and made fun of. As a central part of Cusi Travels values, it aims to teach children to be proud of their language and culture. Children take pride in showing their traditional dances, language, textiles and animals to travelers who are interested in learning about their way of life. We have also designed the following projects to further advance learning and cultural exchange:
Scholarship Program: Cusi Travel provides a scholarship program that is awarded to a graduating student from the Mahuaypampa High School and allows the student to attend a private institute in Cusco to study in a Tourism and Administration program for three years. The scholarship also provides for English classes and a living stipend so that the student can stay in Cusco to study. Meanwhile, this student works a few hours a week in the Cusi Travel office as an intern and has the chance to meet travelers and practice English. When the student completes his/her degree, Cusi Travel will hire him/her as part of our team. Empowering and hiring guides from the countryside is at the core of Cusi Travel’s mission and this scholarship gives Mahuaypampa students the opportunity to study, hold well-paying jobs, and support their families in the countryside. For more information about our Tourism Scholarship, please click here.
Christmas Party: Each year we organize a Christmas party for the children of Mahuaypampa. We play games, dance, share Christmas bread and snacks, and give each student a toy which is usually a doll, toy car, ball, or robot. For many children, this is the only toy they will get for Christmas so it is very special for us to share this with the children.
Supplies: Cusi Travel donates school supplies to the schools in Mahuaypampa, including textbooks, notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, crayons, and many other items. In addition, we encourage our travelers to bring school supplies, toothbrushes and other basic essentials that we can give to the students in Mahuaypampa as well as to local children who we meet during our hikes.
Educational Movie Screenings: Cusi Travel has also set up screenings twice a week in the village of Mahuaypampa for the children from the village to come together to watch educational movies. Some screening topics include Ted Talks in Spanish, National Geographic documentaries, dinosaurs and the history of Peru. After the film, the children join in short discussions about what they learned. In the countryside, education never includes multimedia commonly used in the United States or elsewhere, such as PowerPoint presentations, projectors, etc. The children also do not own televisions or computers. Through educational screenings, this project introduces children to other ways of learning. It is Cusi Travel’s hope that certain videos will inspire them to travel and further widen their worldview. Cusi Travel highlights the importance of both remaining active outside and understanding the natural world around them, but also in becoming acquainted with different types of technology that will be important for those who move on to work in the professional world.
Class Trips: In Peru, it is common for schools to organize class trips for their graduating classes. Schools with more money can take trips to other cities within Peru, or even to other countries. However, rural schools that have less economic resources are often unable to organize trips like this. Cusi Travel recognizes that traveling to other cities and visiting new places is important for children to broaden their horizons and learn about other cultures. Because of this we help to sponsor class trips that students from the Mahuaypampa Elementary and High Schools take. We have supported class trips to places such as Lake Titicaca, Lima, and Machu Picchu for these students.
Annual Christmas Celebration The Cusi Travel team hosted our annual Christmas party at the elementary school of Mahuaypampa, an Andean village where our Quechuas (porters) are from. We brought hot chocolate, Christmas bread, snacks, balloons, and presents for each student. Each class also did a short performance, and we had a clown come and do a show as well. Thank you to everyone who donated and supported us so that we could make this party a reality for the kids!
English Education with Cusi Projects Cusi Travel supports education in the Andean village of Mahuaypampa where our Quechuas (porters) are from by providing an English teacher in the elementary school and donating school supplies to the children. Take a look at the community service that we have been able to do because of your support!