Located at almost 12,000 feet above sea level and about 30 miles away from Cusco city, the Chequerec Primary School has become a great source of education for children in the Andes of Peru, despite the fact that most of the children have to walk to school every day – some of them an average an hour each way.

Grand Circle Foundation began its partnership with the Chequerec Primary School in 201 4, and has funded $57,575 to date.

The initial project funded was to provide access to clean water and toilets as part of our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiative, as a lack of clean water and toilets are serious problems for children at these high altitude areas.

Another serious issue was hunger – a majority of the students did not have breakfast or lunch, and sometimes missed both meals. School lunch is critical to student health and well-being, especially for low-income students—and ensures that students have nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. The Peruvian Government food program at public schools, called Qali Warma, delivers breakfast and lunch to students from underprivileged areas, especially those residing in native communities. However without the proper infrastructure, here was no place to prepare the food, and children had to eat in classrooms or at the sports field.

With the recently completed construction of the kitchen and dining room facilities funded by GCF, local families have a clean, stocked kitchen to prepare meals for the children, and students now enjoy meals in a proper school cafeteria.

The School Principal, Mrs Yenny Huayhua, said: “Being able to provide meals at the school cafeteria has improved the quality of education – children pay more attention during class. Parents are involved every day in turns to go to the school to prepare meals for the children, and having a better infrastructure has helped families and children to live and work as a community. Thank you Grand Circle Foundation for changing the lives of our children and our community”.

In Peru, the performance difference between urban and rural students is high. For example, for 2nd grade students 55.1% of urban children achieve satisfactory test scores but for rural students that figure drops to 18.5%.  Also in mathematics 29.1% of urban students achieve a satisfactory score while in rural areas only 12.3% of students achieve satisfactory score. Grand Circle Foundation believes all children have a basic right to a good education. A lot has been accomplished at this school,  and we will continue to work together to provide a brighter future for these children.

Submitted by: Erik Cardenas, Senior Vice President, Northern South America and Central America, Overseas Adventure Travel