I have been a part of Chicuchas Wasi since the beginning and I can't tell you how rewarding this experience has been! We are into our second year of school at our new facility and just completed the Global Giving challenge to be accepted on their website. Follow our progress on Chicuchaswasi.org, Chicuchas Wasi Cusco Peru on Facebook and at @Chicuchaswasi!
Chicuchas Wasi started over 25 years ago as a refuge for children living on the streets of Cusco, Peru. We have evolved over time into a school for underprivileged girls - our current enrollment is 113!
We don't charge the families for their daughters to attend school, we support the school entirely with donations and are currently involved in a fundraising drive on Globalgiving. These girls are receiving an education that they would never have dreamed of. I am proud to be a part of this life changing organization. Please visit our website: chicuchaswasi.org!
Dear Karen, As an active member of the California Board of Directors since the beginning 26 years ago, you have truly seen the many changes and incredible growth of Chicuchas Wasi. With the new school in 2012 we have been able to accept more girls needing access to our Alternative style of education. We not only include academic education, but we support growth in confidence and self-worth and values that are daily reinforced by staff and director. We are the Chicuchas Wasi Family of 115 students, 13 staff members at the School and in California another 5 on the board of directors...all working together towards the same goal. Education of a girl will give her and her family one day, the key out of poverty. Thank you for all your loyal hardworking years of service to the poor children of Cusco, Peru.
With the new Chicuchas Wasi school now in its second year, I found it a wonderful and moving experience to be able to look back over the last quarter century to see how far CW has come from its humble beginnings. I highly encourage you to visit the Chicuchas Wasi website and peruse their comprehensive photo gallery. I am convinced that you will come away with a profound appreciation for amazing accomplishments of the dedicated CW volunteers. The photos beautifully express the undeniable, life-affirming joy they bring to the girls of Chicuchas Wasi.
I have believed in and helped support Chicuchas Wasi since 1989. When you read reviews of this amazing non-profit, you can’t help but be impressed by the life-affirming, life-changing outcomes it has fostered over the last 25 years. What may not be as evident, but is vitally important, is the steadfast, tireless, passionate, and effective work that the Chicuchas Wasi California Board of Directors has performed over that same time period. As a past Executive Director of one non-profit and the Chief Development Officer of another, I know first-hand how critical a board of directors is to the success, or failure, of any non-profit. Many members of the California Board of Chicuchas Wasi have served for the entire life of the organization. Rather than becoming fatigued or blasé about their duties, members of this board are as enthusiastic, dedicated, tireless, energized, and effective with their time, talent, and treasure today as they were at the outset. This solid foundation of leadership guarantees a bright future for all the girls fortunate enough to find themselves at Chicuchas Wasi.
Thank you Ken for your wonderful review. You clearly understand the commitment and passion we all feel as the California Board and supportive team for the outstanding director and staff that make up Chicuchas Wasi Alternative School in Cusco, Peru. We all want to ensure that our rural and forgotten girls will have a future full of opportunity their mothers could never have imagined. Thank you also for your years of support, and please know how much you are appreciated.
I love visiting the Chicuchas Wasi website and seeing the photos of the girls. 2013 is the second year in their new school and especially for the older girls, how exciting for them to experience this long-anticipated dream come true. Parents volunteer at the school, helping at special events, working on landscaping, and I think what great role-modeling this is for the CW Girls to see their moms and dads involved at their beautiful school and so committed to the girls' education.
When I first became involved, Chicuchas Wasi was just being established as a nonprofit organization, and we worked to raise money in California to feed and shelter abandoned children found in Cusco, Peru. Now, more than 25 years later, CW has evolved from that small grassroots organization into offering an Alternative School for Girls operating each school year on donations large and small from supporters around the globe. What a revelation it was, this elegant solution to child abandonment: educate the girls! CW teaches parents that if their girls stay in school, they will grow to be women able to support themselves and their own children if necessary --- and capable of avoiding the difficult consideration of abandoning their kids just to survive. CW students may be growing up in poverty, but parents, family members, and others in their indigenous communities now see the bright, intelligent, confident faces of CW girls who will always be richer for their awakened interest in learning. Along with academics and a broader awareness of the world around them, CW girls gain self-esteem, personal integrity, and strong values that will last a lifetime. Please visit www.chicuchaswasi.org and LIKE us on Facebook.
Thank you Terry for your review sharing beautifully the 26 years of Chicuchas Wasi. You have been an important part of the CW team since the beginning and what a team we have. All the beautiful artwork, brochures, flyers and website are all your talented contributions over the years. CW is lucky to have our own professional graphic artist all these years. You bring to the project your passion and generosity to help the girls we serve. The Chicuchas Wasi non-profit teams in California and also Cusco, Peru have become this wonderful CW family. Like a family we all work together and are there for one another to make our world a better place.
While hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu our guide, Efrain Valles shared with me the meager beginnings of what has become the non profit, Chicuchas Wasi. Efrain was a street kid, saved by founder Rae Lewis and he refers to her as his Mom. He has a college education, a beautiful young family and a successful career. His passion for Chicuchas Wasi is contagious and he pays it forward by working on the school, donating and fundraising. I wanted to see the school when we returned to Cusco, so Efrain arranged for Ruth Uribe, the school director to pick 3 of us up. I was so excited to see the girls! The school was very impressive, well layed out, clean and organized. The small group of younger girls doing art outside the classroom all got up and ran to greet Ruth and you could clearly see how much they love her. We were surprised to find in another outdoor section they had planned a special greeting for us. All the girls looked sharp in their uniforms and they were in rows by grade. We stood before them and they entertained us with songs, dance, a poem and presented us with cards and drawings they made. We were moved to tears! They were so happy, loving and gave us big hugs. Afterward it was lunch and they had a healthy, hot cooked meal in the cafeteria/kitchen, which had a beautiful view of the mountains. I am excited for these girls and the oppurtunity they are provided through the Chichuchas Wasi school. The gift of education by a caring staff will expose their strenghts, self worth and free them to be independent, confident young women with boundless possibilities!!
Thank you Pamela for your sharing your touching experience with the students of Chicuchas Wasi School. You have met our incredible Director Ruth Uribe and can see how she is moving mountains of old beliefs that females have no value and making lasting cultural change. I am so glad you were able to visit and know her and the girls first hand. Thank you for your generous support to educate these girls. They will make you proud.-Rae
I recently visited this incredible school and I was almost brought to tears by these beautiful children and there amazing teachers. We could see such great work being carried out by these students. The facility is improving all the time and we as a group were so thrilled to supply the children with much needed items to help in there education. What a wonderful job those teachers are doing and hopefully the school can continue to grow into the future.
Thank you Shani. So glad you visited Chicuchas Wasi Alternative School for Girls and could see the light in the eyes of our students. They never believed THEY would be able to go to school. So we are moving mountains of cultural belief that girls are only useful for domestic chores and making babies. Our girls look you right in the eye now and smile their intelligence all over us:)) Please visit www.chicuchaswasi.org to make a donation to keep them in school. Every amount matters and it all adds up. Thank you. @chicuchas wasi on FaceBook too.
I've chosen to support Chicuchas Wasi because I respect the people behind this organization and trust in their leadership to maintain extremely high standards. Education is a key in improving the lives of all children and when girls are denied this right, the whole community suffers. This nonprofit has grown and changed over the years, and will continue to do so, to meet the needs and enhance the lives of all the girls and young women in its reach.
Thank you for your support to educate our special and forgotten girls. Your review of our Alternative School, created to specifically address the issues of girls held back for too long, is appreciated. Together we are changing lives forever for these girls. It is clear you also appreciate and value the education for girls everywhere. Thank you for being part of our Chicuchas Wasi community. Visit us on FB @ chicuchaswasi and www.chicuchaswasi.org for the latest updates. -Rae
So glad that these girls can receive an education and can hopefully go on to live full lives and help other girls in their community.
Jackie and Bob Smith
Dear jackie and Bob, Thank you for your review and for your support of education for forgotten indigenous girls. You have made a difference and these reviews help people know more about our work from those who have had personal experience with our organization. I appreciate that you took the time to write this :-)) -Rae
This is a wonderful educational opportunity for young Andean girls who besides living in poverty are often abandoned due cultural attitudes toward women. This educational opportunity offered by Chicuchas Wasi prepares them to better deal with these issues as adults, improve their individual opportunities, pass the value of education to their children, and ultimately alter social views about women.
Thank you Garith for believing in Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls in Cusco, and especially the students that we serve. You have made it possible for our students to finally go to school and receive the education kept from most poor indigenous girls. You can see they are thriving, alert and hungry to learn as much as they can. Their lives have already been changed and will continue to expand thanks to you.
No act of charity makes a more profound, long-lasting impact than education. That Chicuchas Wasi offers knowledge and academic training to those who would not otherwise receive any makes it particularly powerful and effective in my eyes.
Many of my options are a donor are "shiny" celebrity-endorsed or time-contingent (e.g. disaster recovery) efforts, which, while very exciting, typically have limited impact and involve a lot of waste in marketing and overhead.
A donation to Chicuchas Wasi is not a hat tip to a flash-in-the-pan charity that will disappear tomorrow; the organization has been around for as long as I have been alive (25 years)! What's more, Chicuchas Wasi is small, targeted, and straightforward. I love that I know exactly where my money is going and what purpose it serves.
I am so glad to have discovered this- what a treasure!
Thank you Simone for your thoughtful and generous review of Chicuchas Wasi. We are glad to have you as part of our CW community, Please visit our CW FB @chicuchas wasi and www.chicuchaswasi.org often to catch any new changes or updates. Please share CW with friends on FB, Twitter and just in conversation.To receive our 1-2 emails a month with important updates and including our annual newsletter please sign up on FB or the Website. I will look for you there :-))
I've been associated with Chicuchas Wasi since my first visit to Peru in 2008. By the time I visited again in 2012 incredible changes had taken place! Charitable donations had allowed the school to move to a new purpose-built building just outside Cusco. Pupil numbers had risen from just over 30 to more than 90 girls and the excitement and enthusiasm of the Director, Ruth Uribe, the teachers and the pupils was plain to see.
But things at Chicuchas Wasi don't stand still - while there are more girls who need their help to gain an education, no-one sits back and relaxes! In 2013 113 girls were enrolled for the new school year. However, the original source of funding for growth is exhausted and so Chicuchas Wasi took on the month-long Global Giving Challenge in order to join the community of Non Profits.
As always, expectations have been exceeded as they have reached the Challenge target amount within the first 4 days!
This demonstrates, yet again, the enormous commitment of the Board, donors, volunteers, Director, teachers and pupils to this incredibly worthwhile work.
Chicuchas Wasi is changing lives!
A charity with a vision of equal educational and life opportunities for poor, indiginous girls in Peru. My first contact was in 2008 when trekking in aid of another charity. The holistic approach at Chicuchas Wasi school struck a chord with me since the pupils are given so much more than an education. They are taught life skills, health and hygiene and are given medical and dental treatment. Practical support is also provided to students' parents, particularly their mothers. The school ethos is that every girl is special and valuable and they are provided with the opportunities to develop into capable and confident young women who will hopefully become leaders in their communities.
Thank you for your support and kind words for the School. Chicuchas Wasi has grown quite a bit in the last few years and with 115 thriving students in the new school we are moving pretty fast. The challenges of a much larger operating budget have kept us busy as well. We are all energized by the intense focus and growth and the unity of all involved: teachers, director, California Board, UK team and students is very exciting. It does take a village to raise these girls, in fact many villages. Your generous support to the students of Chicuchas Wasi school is very appreciated. Rae Lewis, Founder
I was fortunate enough to visit the Chicuchas Wasi school in 2007 while traveling to Peru. My mother-in-law, Rae Lewis, is the founder of Chicuchas Wasi so I had heard about how she and Ruth Uribe started this organization and how it evolved to it's present day focus of helping young girls acquire necessary scholastic achievements to continue their education. During my visit in 2007, I witnessed first-hand how this program helps so many young girls. It was evident that the Chicuchas Wasi project not only values education, but the project also plays a critical role in giving an opportunity for a better life to young women. Seeing the girls smiling faces in the classroom, proud to show examples of their school work, and the genuine enthusiasm of the teachers, it is plain to see Chacuchas Wasi is a worthwhile cause and makes a difference in the lives of so many families.
Thank you Allison for your enthusiastic review of Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls. It was wonderful to share CWs 21 years of working to help the at-risk children of Cusco, Peru. Our students loved your visit and and interacting with you and Lenny (my son) -even the dancing. The students are not only experiencing huge leaps in their growth with education, they bring home to their siblings new skills to share, and with their family and community. Everybody wins..and it only grows more each day. I hope we make that trip again with Leo one day, so he can experience the joy with the little girls in the school.
Chicuchas Wasi is a non-profit school maintained solely by charitable donations. Here, impoverished girls (who would otherwise receive no education) become equipped for work and independence. Many of them come from families who are illiterate, which means that the girls have additional needs that Chicuchas Wasi strives to meet. They learn basic life skills and receive a free meal each day. The school even funds free dental care for pupils.
Chicuchas Wasi recognises that pupils often have troubled family backgrounds and support is provided by social workers, psychologists and parent-support classes, which are run by the specially trained and highly committed teaching staff.
We all visited Chicuchas Wasi while touring in Peru and were impressed by how much the girls love learning and take pride in their academic achievements. They recognise the importance of education and how it will transform their lives. Each girl realises how fortunate she is to be a pupil at this school, since many needy cases are turned away, due to limitations of funding.
Some of our members first visited the school several years ago, when it was housed in a tiny building in Cusco and taught just 30 pupils. We have witnessed the massive progress and growth made since 2009. Last year Chicuchas Wasi moved to a purpose-built primary school which now accommodates 115 girls including a new 6th grade in enrolled in 2013. The building is of a high standard with classrooms, dining room, bathrooms and playground and the girls and the teaching staff are understandably proud of their school.
This wonderful development work has been funded entirely by charitable donations. However, this source of income is now almost exhausted. The education provided at Chicuchas Wasi, combined with classes run by special counsellors, social workers and psychologists, health and dental care, is extremely expensive to fund. We are very concerned that, without State/Government support, the school will not be able to continue to meet the needs of its pupils.
We sincerely hope that additional funding for can be found for Chicuchas Wasi, which is a tribute to the ambition and hard work of the Peruvian people.
Thank you for this lovely review of your visit to Chicuchas Wasi School in 2009. We have grown a lot since then, so you all must come back again to see the progress. These are our UK Friends of Chicuchas Wasi who have become supporters of the school for undervalued girls in rural Cusco. You have been an enormous help and your donations are educating 115 girls today. We know that when the money is spent, the ripple effect continues for many years to come. Education is life changing and priceless. Thank you to all our friends in the UK
Review from Guidestar
My mother founded Chicuchas Wasi many years ago, and I have participated in many Chicuchas Wasi events, fundraisers, and Peru trips over the years. I have seen the workings of this organization from a unique perspective, and I have seen the great impact it has had on many lives.
It would be hard for any 18 year old American to understand why his mother is picking up and moving from California to Peru, but it didn't take long for me to realize what had changed the course of her life: many children in Peru who were in great need of basic care. That was over 25 years ago, and since its founding, Chicuchas Wasi has grown into an amazing network of people who dedicate themselves to selflessly helping the children of Peru. Thank you all for all that you have done. The number of people touched by your work has never been calculated, by I know it is many.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the previous school site while school was in session. What I witnessed was an environment where the students were visibly full of joy and pride. The staff was very engaging and it was clear that the students felt cared for. It is easy to see that the work being done in the school goes beyond the desks and textbooks. Positive change begins with small steps, and the girls at the school are taking the steps to a better future on a daily basis. Behind the scenes there are people like you who are helping these girls along.
I had the pleasure of sharing Chicuchas Wasi with Lenny, my youngest son, many times over the years with his many visits to Cusco. An educator himself, he fully understood how education for these impoverished girls would change them and how they would grow into prepared women, mothers and leaders one day. For a mother to share her major life's work with a son, who is a kindred spirit, was a great treat for me. Lenny teaches High School students Geography and Current Events in Sonoma, CA. and he loves teaching, and his students respond to his interest in them. Hope we all go together one day once again.
Review from Guidestar
I met Rae Lewis over 25 years ago in Sonoma, Ca, when she had this wild idea about starting a non-profit to help needy street children in Cusco, Peru. The challenges of starting such venture in Urubamba was not a barrier to this amazing woman. Without knowing much about the place and what to do, she forged ahead with the belief that her mission was worthwhile pursuing. She has learned a great deal about Peruvian bureaucracy, about being a foreigner starting a non-profit in Cusco, and about sharing her vision with a committed group of worldwide supporters who have helped realize her vision over the years. Rae recruited Ruth Uribe, an exceptional school director whose extensive educational experience, deep understanding of the plight of children in the Andes and fierce defense of quality education for all children has build the foundation for this dream school. Ruth is a motivational and able administrator who oversees a team of truly devoted teachers. After many years of growing the roots of Chicuchas Wasi, Rae has finally realized the construction of a school for girls. It is a dream school because in the Andes, poor families do not send girls to school, and their hopes for an education is lessened by a system that does not provide the educational impetus to empower girls to succeed with the belief that they can becoming a professional, an engineer, a lawyer, a professor, a doctor, even a president. The multiple obstacles that female students face to attain a post-secondary education are greater, and their education is not as important as their male counterparts. Chicuchas Wasi has created strong educational ripples that have touched many deeply. We have seem the growth and development of these children into intelligent, complex and strong human beings with an urge to help others, with the support of a global family. Chicuchas Wasi is an example of an organization whose heart and hands are for and by the people of Cusco and the region, but whose eyes and ears are for all to share and contribute to the dream. This is an exceptional organization that deserves your care in whatever way you can offer it because it will continue to break new ground in the education of children for years to come. Luis Kong, EdD.
What a glowing review from someone who knows the value of education for children forgotten by society. Thank you Luis for sharing your knowledge and experience to speak so well of Chicuchas Wasi over the years and our Girls School today.
I have had the privilege of knowing Rae Lewis for over 25 years, and I have watched the evolution of the programs in Cusco and the Sacred Valley as it became the wonderful girls' school that it is today. I have never visited the school, but I know Ruth, Efrain and the other local people who are the heart and soul of the school, which is so much more than that. Chicuchas Wasi is really an inspiring, sorely needed investment in the future of these young girls, their families and their communities. I am very touched to have been a very small part of it all these years.
While I have volunteered for Chicuchas Wasi in the past, the majority of my experience is witnessing the good they do for the children of Peru. Their amazing dedication to the under-served young girls in the community of Cusco is inspiring. They are always hard working, always focused on the children.
Thank you Lora for your kind words. Your support over the years has been greatly appreciated and made a difference. We are 26 years young and growing. The New Chicuchas Wasi Alternative Primary School for Girls has a growing enrollment now that we have room to expand. We will add the 6th grade next school year -starts in March in Peru- with 120-130 female students. We have just been accepted to Guidestar, so please see their review of CW at http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/68-0188327/chicuchas-wasi.aspx. Also please DONATE towards our $131K operating budget at www.chicuchaswasi.org. Merry Christmas to you and your family Laura..Rae
i first went there in 2008 to volunteer. i'm from Italy and knew about Chicuchas Wasi while in London as i met one of the regular donors! i was so excited as i had been told that it would have been an unforgivable experience but as i got there the whole stay has been beyond my expectation. the little students are so lovely and smart! they are taught through education and love how to develop their skills. you would never say they are living or coming from critical living conditions! they just keep on smiling to you and you can see in their own eyes how comfortable and self confident they feel! the hard work all the stuff is doing is being payed off! i had the chance to understand what the foundation means for the community not just for the little girls! parents and relatives are helping with manual labour when needed, constantly attending Ruth's meetings and always asking her for an advice!a friendly and special atmosphere is all around the school!every year i go back for a visit and since 2012 i'm a board member. i DO recommend everyone is traveling to peru to take the chance to visit this little reality where you can realize that through love and education we can change the world!
Thank you Jessica for your glowing review, and for sharing your experience at Chicuchas Wasi School in Cusco. The world is truly getting smaller as so many of our reviews and friends are scattered all over the globe. It was wonderful to have you as a Volunteer helping Ruth in so many ways. You were there at just the right time. Merry Christmas Jessica to you and your family.
We visited Chicuchas Wasi in 2008, before the new school was built. We were on a Traidcraft Meet the People tour and our guide, Efrain, told us about the school and we asked to go. The only opportunity was on a Saturday, and all the girls, their parents and siblings came to school especially to meet us. Efrain had described the work that Ruth and the other staff do to support these underprivileged girls, and it was so good to meet them all and to see for ourselves what a difference this outstanding education makes. The girls confidently spoke to us, asked us questions, and proudly showed us their work. The approach is holistic and they receive much more than simply a basic education; they are encouraged to be creative and thoughtful. Like all children they have terrific potential, but the deep commitment shown by the staff and the parents to these girls means that they have a very good chance of fulfilling theirs.
Another wonderful review from the UK. Thank you Anna for your visit to Chicuchas Wasi School and your great review. Please support our campaign to close the GAP (shortfall of $66K) in our funding for the 2013 total budget of $120K-so we can keep these girls in CW school. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Rae Lewis, Founder
We visited Chicuchas Wasi during a busy couple of weeks in Peru with a Meet the People tour. The school visit was an optional extra and we were so glad we took the option. What an inspirational place. Our small group got a great welcome. The girls clearly enjoy school and were learning well. It was good for us to be able to bring greetings from small rural schools in Scotland. I hope this school continues to go from strength to strength.
Visitors to Chicuchas Wasi from Scotland! How Wonderful. Thank you for your visit and your review. Please support our campaign to close the GAP (shortfall of $66K) in our funding for the 2013 total budget of $120K-so we can keep these girls in school. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Rae Lewis, Founder
Unbelievable achievements against all the odds, delivered in a caring and empowering atmosphere, involving the girl students and the parents, particularly their mothers, who themselves are empowered too.