Dear Friends of the Chijnaya Foundation,
For fifteen years I have had the privilege of serving as the volunteer president of The Chijnaya Foundation. Working with the men and women in remote communities in the Andes, with a tremendous group of dedicated, volunteer board members, with our hardworking staff on the ground in the mountains of Peru, and with the many generous donors who have made our work possible has been the honor of a lifetime. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Robert Frost, the Foundation’s Treasurer, and to David Cajo, the Executive Director of the Pro-DIA Association, our sister nonprofit in Peru. Without their commitment, this work could not have been done.
I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished during these fifteen years in Altiplano communities. Our efforts have had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of individuals living in extreme poverty in the Andean highlands. We started by working in one community, Chijnaya, and now our network embraces 25 communities and organizations in five provinces of the Puno region. Our rotating fund program has helped hundreds of families to improve their agricultural infrastructure and to increase their family income. Our scholarship program has enabled hundreds of high school graduates from rural communities to attend a university and obtain professional degrees and employment. Our dental program has improved the oral health of both children and adults in our communities. We have assisted ceramic artisans in improving their productivity, and we have worked with entrepreneurial groups to enhance their incomes through rural community tourism. Our group savings program is teaching the importance of savings and smart financial management.
Two years ago, I asked the Board of Directors to begin a search for a new president of the Foundation. I am happy to announce that Susan Bourque, professor and provost emerita at Smith College and an Andean expert with a strong interest in education and gender issues, has agreed to serve as president and to be in charge of the transition of the Foundation from a founder-run nonprofit to a sustainable organization capable of continuing into the future the work we have begun. As Susie takes over, I hope you will continue to support the work of the Foundation. I will remain on the Board and will continue to be involved with the Foundation as the new leadership develops plans and projects aimed at increasing the reach of the Foundation.
At the same time, I am delighted to report that the Foundation has hired Kimberly Mazza to run day-to-day operations. Kimmy is an engineering graduate of the Colorado School of Mines and a recent Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. Prior to hiring her to manage the Foundation in the US, Kimmy was in charge of the implementation of a series of water-related projects in our communities. She is fluent in Spanish and popular with the villagers and our Peruvian staff. She brings to this work a vast array of skills, and the entire Board is grateful that we were able to snare her. Susie and Kimmy will be a formidable team, taking us to new heights.
Once more, I would like to thank you for your past and future support of the work in Peru. We cannot solve all the problems of the world, but we are making a difference in the lives of people in one corner of the planet. By extending a hand to people in need, we show our solidarity and our commitment to making this earth a better place for everyone.