The Chijnaya Foundation: Purpose and Promise
The Chijnaya Foundation works in partnership with rural communities in Southern Peru to design and implement self-sustaining projects in health, education, and economic development.
How We Work
By providing humanitarian, technical, and development assistance to communities in the Andean highlands of Southern Peru, the Foundation is able to administer grants and loans, technical expertise, and research in agriculture, health, small industry, traditional crafts, housing, and community services, all focused on improving the cultural and economic well-being of indigenous Andean people.
What makes us distinctive and successful?
The Chijnaya Foundation Board of Trustees is a small, diverse group of volunteers who share a passion and commitment to improve the lives of indigenous peoples and villages on the Altiplano of Southern Peru:
- ♦ We share experiences in Southern Peru dating back to the 1960s, including Peace Corps, agricultural and anthropological research, and community development.
- ♦ We share a deep and abiding respect for and understanding of Andean culture and people.
- ♦ We believe in the capacity of Andean people to create self-sustaining activities that will improve their living standards and quality of life.
- ♦ We bring diverse talents, interests, and capacities to our endeavors, creating an operating board that carries out distinctive activities in each community.
- ♦ We use our diverse talents to create synergies among projects, each individual project supporting the others and designed to empower communities.
- ♦ We intentionally work with highly-motivated associations within communities, a process that leads to capacity-building in separate areas of development, expanding from individuals and small groups to the larger, entire community.
- ♦ Whenever possible, we use principles of micro-lending and rotating loan funding to underwrite projects and to enable communities to sustain development.
The Foundation organized its work as a 501c(3) in New Mexico in 2005, following a visit to the community of Chijnaya, Peru, by Dr. Ralph Bolton, an anthropologist who worked there as a Peace Corps Volunteer, 40 years earlier. The remarkable visit after four decades provided the opportunity to renew relationships and, at the request of the people, partner again with them to improve their lives. Dr. Bolton has been able to assemble a unique board and a growing number of volunteers to join him in establishing the Foundation and carrying out successful projects through hard work and very limited funds. The people of Chijnaya and many neighboring communities in the Titicaca Basin of Southern Peru have worked progressively to raise their standards of living and quality of life, all in just a few years.
The future of the work is bright, with many opportunities to expand projects and engage communities in their own development. We increasingly partner with public and private entities and volunteers to accomplish projects: the Peruvian American Dental Association, Suma Marka, Engineers Without Borders at the University of California-Berkeley and Utah State University, Lifeboat Foundation, Global Water Watch, Reserva Nacional Titicaca, the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Lions Clubs, student volunteers (from eight universities in the United States thus far, University of Trondheim in Norway, and the National University of the Altiplano), the Peruvian Ministries of Health and Education, the Peruvian Navy, the Libraries Department of the Municipality of Lima, and the Municipal Council and Museum of Pucará. To expedite the work in Peru, the Foundation has incorporated an operating arm, “Asociación Pro Desarrollo Integral del Altiplano en Peru,” to act in a fiduciary capacity in Peru. We now have one, paid Peruvian Field Representative, David Cajo, who is instrumental in organizing and supervising projects “on the ground” and aiding communities as they form associations to accomplish projects. Dr. Bolton averages 100 days each year in Peru. Other board members regularly travel to Peru to work on projects with non-board volunteers who provide their expenses to participate in these endeavors. We are organized to get the work done and to evaluate our outcomes in order to become even more effective. Increasingly, we will expand fund development, to raise more resources to fund the work adequately.
Foundation activities thus far have concentrated on three areas: economic development, health and the environment, and education
All current projects will continue or expand as resources permit. If you would like to participate, click here.