Peruvian Schoolgirls Take Dream Trip to Machu Picchu

Alliance Member: Elevate Destinations

Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers and as stewards.

The Travelers: All the girls of Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls! This daytrip included everyone—105 girls divided into two groups. Eight professors and one professional guide accompanied each group.

The Excursion: A daytrip on September 24 2016 to nearby Cusco, then Ollantaytambo, then finally on board the passenger train to the magnificent Machu Picchu.

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The Details:

The girls of Chicuchas Wasi all come from the region of Cusco. Chicuchas Wasi is a safe house that serves girls who have been abandoned or neglected. Some of them are from the city of Cusco itself, and others are from the smaller towns of the province. But because of the disadvantage of their backgrounds, the nearby site of Machu Picchu was something that they’d only seen in photos and imagined.

Machu Picchu is so close to home for them, yet it had always been out of reach.

For tourists, the city of Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and the Machu Picchu experience. Today, it was the girls’ turn to be tourists. The day started before dawn, when they were transported by bus to Cusco, then to the village of Ollantaytambo. They headed to the train station to board the passenger train that would take them along the winding track through the Sacred Valley.

Excitement grew as the train chugged along. The girls passed the time laughing and playing on board the train. They marveled at the views from the window, and at the foreign tourists who had come from all over the world to see this monument.

Finally, they arrived! On the other side of the gates, the postcard view of Machu Picchu—green and majestic with Huayna Picchu peak hovering behind it—opened up before them. They spent several hours touring the site, learning about heritage and architecture from professional guides, and finally posing for the camera on the terrace with the best photo op.

Firsts:

  • Riding the train through a winding valley to reach Machu Picchu,
  • Traveling with school friends, just for the fun of it,
  • Finally visiting the Machu Picchu they had only seen in photos.
  • Taking a tour with a professional guide, who brought the history and culture of the site to life.
  • Stretching curiosity about Incan architecture—with all its complex aqueducts and precise stonework—and wondering aloud how it was all possible in ancient times.

Partner Organization:

Chicuchas Wasi (CW) began in 1987 to combat gender inequality and human rights violations of abandoned girls, some as young as 6 years old, surviving alone on the streets of Cusco, Peru. CW created a safe house including nutrition, health care, school, life skills, and more. The organization provided emergency alleviation for these abused children, but it did not yet address the many reasons for their suffering.

In 1997, CW took their program a step further. They reorganized to prepare and educate poor girls to become future leaders for social change, and to close the gender gap that plagues abuse and child abandonment. Today Chicuchas Wasi is an integrated community of education and services, proving that girls from any background can thrive and show leadership when nurtured and supported.

Chicuchas Wasi (CW) School for Girls provides free, primary education, emphasizing personal development, empowerment, and academics. We stress personal values, integrity, self-esteem and social responsibility for an adult life of quality, dignity, gender equality, and financial independence. Chicuchas Wasi School maintains a big presence in the community with cultural celebrations, supporting social issues and women’s issues and to spread the value and importance of education for girls.

For more success stories from Elevate Destinations, visit http://elevatedestinations.com/blog/