Featured Charity: Sacred Valley Project
EMPOWERING INDIGENOUS FEMALE LEADERS OF TOMORROW
In Peru, indigenous communities are dispersed throughout the Andes Mountains and lack access to most public services, including education. Children must walk several hours to the nearest elementary school and high schools are often only located in town centers, making it too far a journey for daily commute on foot. This lack of access to education presents an even greater challenge for indigenous girls. While many boys move to urban centers to pursue educational opportunities, this same option is not available to most girls.
The Sacred Valley Project makes secondary education possible for young, indigenous women from mountain communities who otherwise would not have this option. Education for women is an especially important investment as the benefits impact future generations and families. Female education is proven to have a substantial impact on reducing poverty. Studies show that an educated woman is more likely to have a smaller and healthier family, a stronger voice in family negotiations and the ability to advocate for herself and her children.
In 2009, village leaders and community members from rural, mountain villages of the Sacred Valley of Peru came up with a plan. They hoped to build a dormitory in the town of Ollantaytambo where their daughters could live while attending high school. After a year of fund-raising, and with the help and inspiration brought forth by these community members, the Sacred Valley Project got the dormitory project off the ground.
The global development community has come to realize that girls’ education is vital in overcoming poverty. With the education these girls gain while living at the dormitory, doors will open for the women of the Sacred Valley. They will return to their communities as empowered indigenous leaders. They can start their own business, teach classes of their own, or go to college. And you can help them get there! Purchasing slippers from Sacred Valley Project on CharityGiftMarket provides food for one of the girls for a month, helping to care for them and allowing them to continue their education.