Planeterra help support a community center in Cusco that provides a safe haven for children coming from impoverished and unstable homes.
The community center is called Inti Runakunaq Wasin (IRW), or the House of the People of the Sun.
Many of the kids that come to this center work in the streets of Cusco selling trinkets to tourists, which leaves them at risk for violence, substance abuse, and delinquency.
These kids have additional challenges at home – one child was physically tortured by a parent and ended up in the hospital for several months.
The IRW center runs a multifaceted program emphasizing personal development, education, vocational training, as well as specialized programs for adolescents and young adults with disabilities.
Most children come to the center in the afternoon (after school), where they can receive assistance with homework from the teachers on staff. They also participate in art classes, music classes, cooking classes, and vocational training where they learn to work with leather and other materials to make jewelry, bags, and binders. IRW sells these items at local festivals to raise money for the center.
Despite some of the heart wrenching personal stories associated with the children of IRW, this is an inspiring place that reminds one that there are still so many great and generous people in the world. An opportunity to visit IRW is yet another opportunity to infuse your Cusco adventure with a little dose of heart and understanding.
"Live the Adventure"