Giving something back

Chinchero by Edyta Pawlowska ShutterstockPeru’s numerous Inca sites are in need of protection © Edyta Pawlowska, Shutterstock

The main cause of habitat destruction in the developing world is poverty. By helping the people you will also help the environment. Experiencing rural Peru on foot has a profound effect on many travellers, who would like to know of ways they can help – how they can repay the place and people that have given so much to them. By far the best way is to support one of the small, local charities that work with the very poor. This ensures that your money is properly allocated to the people who most need it. The organisations below will all welcome your help. The South American Explorers Club can put you in touch with local charities.

Niños (Niños Unidos Peruanos) Calle Meloq 442, Cusco, Peru; tel: 842 35183; email: Or c/o Jos van Dijk, Koggestraat 1f, 1012 TA Amsterdam; tel: 31 020 4220828. A charity started by two Dutch backpackers, Jolanda van den Berg and Titus Bovenberg, who decided they wanted to help the street children of Cusco. They operate the Niños Hotel in Cusco where children are trained in tourism skills, from serving meals to cooking and cleaning. This is an inspiring project that deserves the support that readers of this book can give it.

International Committee for Andean Aid (INCA) PO Box 9322, London E17 3TG; tel: 0181 521 0422. INCA was founded with the aim of alleviating poverty and encouraging sustainable development in Peru and other Andean countries. It works in partnership with local organisations to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly in Lima. Recent projects have included a rental system for tools and equipment for carpenters, and training for young people in the necessary skills for self-employment as electricians, plumbers, bakers, and so on.

Cusichaca Trust Springfield, 62 High St, Belbroughton, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DV9 9SU; tel: 01562 730496. Founded by archaeologist Dr Ann Kendall in 1968, this organisation has been active in restoring Inca irrigation canals to improve the agricultural practices of the descendents of the Incas living in the area around Cusco and the Department of Apurimac. The aim of the trust is to revitalise traditional agricultural practises, encouraging organic farming and income-generating projects, working with rural development in general to improve health and nutrition. Money donations to continue this work will always be needed.

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