In 1992, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) established an organization called the Support Group for the Rural Sector, which operates out of the university's engineering department. They have since carried out many projects that are improving the quality of life for the rural population. We hope to continue working with this organization for our projects that require engineering support.
Ventilated Clay Ovens
A common practice in rural Andean communities is to cook inside the home over an open fire. Without adequate ventilation, this can be a serious health concern that results in respiratory issues and damage to the eyes and skin. Some have compared this lifestyle to smoking 20 packs of cigarettes a day. By partnering with the Catholic University of Peru, we have begun providing ventilated clay ovens to mitigate these health risks in the Andean communities.
Over the course of this program, we’ve been fortunate to gift more than 500 children. Furthermore, this event has turned into an annual celebration as families from the nearby villages of Nahumpujio, Pampacocha, Huancapunco, Minkaypata and Kurpo walk for a couple of hours through perilous terrain and dirt roads to bring joy to their children.
Christmas Gifts Program
By starting the Christmas Gifts Program in 2001, it was our hope to bring smiles to the children and families of these less fortunate communities. Every year, we would deliver hot chocolate, traditional bread, candy bars, and toys to the children of the region during the holiday season. Due to the financial constraints of the local communities, these seemingly simple gifts, or crumbs of love, have a powerful impact on those that receive them.
Similar to the Christmas Gifts Program, the playground donation effort grew as more people from the neighboring communities got involved. These parks have become a weekly gathering center as families from other villages travel miles on foot so that their children may enjoy the communal playground. This attraction has been such a hit that we continued to build recreational parks in the neighboring villages. Since 2003, we have successfully installed eight recreational parks in eight communities; complete with swings, titter totters, and slides.
To further enhance the livelihood of the Andean communities, we installed our first playground structure in 2003 to support healthy activities for the children. By working with the communities to clear an area for installation, the Andeans take greater ownership of the structures. Once installed those communities are given the responsibility to maintain the infrastructure, thus enabling self-reliance.
Pichigua, Nahuimpujio, Huancapunco, Mesapalpa, Kurpo, Pampacocha, Quena, and Accha
By using adobe and agrarian plastic material the greenhouse provides an artificial environment that is ideal for cultivating vegetables. With a greenhouse installed, the local people are able to grow a wide selection of produce, such as beets, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumber, and herbs.
Varying micro-climates and rough terrain make the Andean region unsuitable for growing fruits and vegetables. As a result, the people of the Andes are limited to cultivating potatoes, olluco (a type of root), beans, barley, and corn. To combat malnutrition among the children in the region, we have installed a greenhouse in the Huancapunco Community School.