With breathtaking places such as Machu Picchu or the Plaza de Armas, most visitors to Cusco never see the ugly side of the city. Unfortunately, there exists a very big socioeconomic problem here, as approximately 24% of the city’s population, or 30,000 families, live on the edge of extreme poverty. Almost 72% of these families are led by a single mother who is responsible for 2-3 children on average. Many of these families live day-to-day in one room apartments, and kids are often taken out of school at extremely young ages in order to work. The lack of education, privacy, and hope for a better life contributes to a cycle of poverty that is seemingly inescapable for these local families. For girls, it is even worse. Impoverished parents often invest all of their resources in their oldest son, with hopes that he will become an engineer, a doctor, or a lawyer.
Our main goal may be to break the cycle of poverty once and for all, but we know that Rome wasn't built in a day. To best focus our efforts, we decided that we wanted to help those that would have a minimal chance of escaping an impoverished lifestyle on their own- young girls. However, we knew that we had to provide our tools to those who would maximize them rather than waste or take advantage of them. Through a rigorous selection process, we identify the girls that we believe are best suited to succeed, but need the most help to do so. We then provide them with financial, educational, and emotional support until they have completed their higher education and are ready to make a difference in the world.