We want to thank you for your support of community-led projects on the Peruvian altiplano in 2020. In a year where many people faced uncertainty and unprecedented loss, your generosity was a true bright spot. Although the situation in Peru and throughout the world continues to be perilous, we are confident that with your support we can improve the well-being of communities in the altiplano, not only this year, but for years to come, as we work together to build a more equitable world.
Your Support Helped Bring Economic Stability to Andean Communities
Economic instability has been a long standing challenge for many communities and it was further exacerbated by the pandemic. Your support of the Group Savings and the Economic Development Programs helped communities overcome some of their financial vulnerability. In 2020, the 13 groups in the Group Savings Program saved $56,643 and used their savings to invest in small business, medical and educational expenses. These groups have strengthened families’ and communities’ financial self-reliance and provided members with a place within their community to save their money and take out low interest rate loans. This has been especially important as families and small businesses faced serious challenges during this global crisis.
COVID-19 Continues to Pose Risks in Rural Areas
At the beginning of 2021, Peru experienced a significant rise in COVID-19 cases. The government began imposing additional restrictions at the end of January to help slow the spread. Many of these restrictions have recently been lifted, but COVID continues to pose great risks for the most vulnerable communities, especially in the rural areas. This year we will continue to support projects to help altiplano communities confront the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that communities have access to prevention information in Quechua (the local indigenous language) and supporting initiatives to improve education in rural communities.
Virtual learning has been especially challenging for students in the rural sector because many communities lack access to phone and internet service. Last year, students of The Chijnaya Foundation Scholarship Program focused their community-based projects on improving virtual learning in remote areas by tutoring the students in their communities. Scholarship recipients plan to continue working with the younger students in their communities in 2021 to reduce learning loss and dropout rates.
Local prevention efforts and projects to improve virtual learning in the rural sector are critical and implementation of these activities will begin in April and May of 2021. You can find more information and directly support these projects through the GoFundMe campaign below.
Tourism Association Expands Trout Farming to Combat Decline in Tourism
This year, four new communities submitted project proposals to improve their income generating activities. One project is from the beautiful community of Llachón located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Llachón was primarily an agricultural community, but in recent years it has developed a tourism component to its economic activities. The local tourism association experienced a severe decrease in income due to the decline in tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an alternative resource the community submitted a proposal to support environmentally responsible trout production, which has been approved by the Peruvian government. They will use the new rotating fund to enhance environmentally sound practices and, in the future, use income from this project to improve local tourism services. You can now read about each community’s project and partially or fully fund a project with your donation!
Your support in 2021 will also help provide scholarships to 50 students from rural communities who will be able to pursue higher education at a regional university or institute. We are grateful for the generous support of this program through named scholarships. Since the last newsletter, three additional named scholarships have been created- The Jill Ker Conway Scholarship, The Drs. Joseph E. and Helen J. Bourque Scholarship, and The David Scott Palmer Scholarship. These scholarships not only create opportunities for students, but also honor the memories of beloved family and friends. Please consider this as a possible avenue for honoring loved ones.
We want to thank you again for playing a vital role in supporting community-led initiatives to increase family income, improve community health, and provide access to higher education in rural communities in the Peruvian altiplano. Please continue to invest in these communities through the Chijnaya Foundation in 2021 and do not hesitate to contact us or other Board members with feedback or questions.