I want to share a project with you which is very close to my heart. Join me to make a lasting impact to children of poor families in the Peruvian Andes.
While travelling through Peru I realised how wealthy and privileged we are even if we think we are not. Most of the families and kids I have seen live in very simple conditions. Kids are helping their parents to earn a small amount of money to contribute to feed their family. Besides working, kids also have to go to school if the parents can afford it. This is, unfortunately, a normal life for the children in the small villages in Peru. Travelling made me realise that I want to make a lasting impact and support the children in Peru. I just had no idea how.
When I was taking photos in Lima, I met Javier Gamboa. He is an amazing photographer and we are in contact since. I always believe you meet people in your life for a reason.
A while ago I noticed a post from him on facebook about his project to support children of poor families in the Peruvian Andes. At this moment I knew I want to be part of his project and fulfil my mission close to my heart.
Javier’s project to support children of poor families in Peru
Javier’s project started 3 years ago when he realised that lots of the indigenous population lack school equipment, such as pens, pencil, notepads, books, you name it. Many children have nothing to write on; some siblings have to share one notepad between each other. In case the parents cannot afford to buy a sketchbook, they cannot send the children to school, especially if it is a girl. These are unfortunately normal circumstances in the smaller villages in Peru and hard to imagine for us.
This gave Javier the urge to help and his project was born. Javier started to collect books and school supplies from people he knew and was able to bring more than 50,000 books and school material to the people in the small villages of the Andes Mountains in Peru. The smile he brought to children’s eyes was an incredible rewarding gift.
The school year in Peru starts in March and the children need our help. Javier is going back to the small villages on the 25 March to bring more books and school supplies. Each child needs approximately 10 notepads, pencils, erasers, pens, sketchbooks, colour pencils, rulers, etc. All the children of Ccolccabamba, a small town in the Andes, will need their school equipment and books. However, there are so many more children in nine other communities over 4,000 m high in the mountains who need our help. There are roughly 500 children affected. Watch more here. Check out Javier’s post and photos of the children here.
How can you make a lasting impact to children in Peru?
Are you like me who loves to make an impact and bring a big smile into children’s eyes? If you answered this question with yes, I ask you to help Javier and me to be able to complete the project to bring school supplies and books to the poor children in the Andes mountains.
A donation will be much appreciated. If you want to make an impact, please donate using the Paypal button below. Even a small $5 amount will make a huge difference for the kids.
When you transfer money to my PayPal account, don’t forget to email me your email address or home address. You will receive a handwritten personal letter from the child you have supported.
I guarantee you from the bottom of my heart that each cent you send to my PhotographybyalexK – PayPal account will be transferred to Javier’s project account and only used for the school supply, books and to cover the costs of transport. Thank you so much for your help. Watch another video here.
Javier’s background story and why he became involved in helping kids in Peru
I feel honoured to being able to introduce you to this amazing warm-hearted soul Javier.
Javier’s parents were born in a small town Poma in the mountains of the Andes Ayacucho. They left this area to have a better life in Lima at a very young age. Javier’s mother was never able to go to school and only started learning how to write her name when she was 55 years old.
Ayacucho is one of the poorest places in Peru with a high degree of illiteracy until today. In 1991 his parents decided to return to their hometown after the terrorism period in Peru had finished. They chose to start a new life as they could not imagine to die one day watching TV in Lima. A new town of Poma, Ccolccabamba was built, and more people returned to the village over time. The community has grown, and people from different places have come to live here. The school in this area is called Manuel Gonzalez Prada which teaches students of all levels. Many of the children walk for more than an hour to study at this school.
The interview – more about Javier
I would love to share the interview I had with Javier regarding his project and what made him do this.
Alex: “What made you start your project?”
Javier: “Every year when my parents returned to Lima for their medical checkups, they always told me to go and help them with their farm. Once I decided to visit them, I realised that this was the best decision I had made at that time. I fell in love with that town, walking in the mountains, taking pictures of people, experimenting and living like a peasant, taking potatoes out of the ground and harvesting quinoa . Everything was new to me. At that time Poma had a small school of 20 students. The school had a large room where all the children studied in one classroom, regardless of age. They had only one teacher for everyone. It seemed strange to me, but that’s how it works in many small villages in the Andes.
After 5 years I returned to Poma with 20 packages of school supply. I was shocked when I noticed that there was no school anymore. Children had to walk to school in Ccolccabamba. There I met the director of that school, José Carrasco and gave him the school supplies for the poorest children. That’s when we started talking about the library. He took me to, what they called a library, a very small space where there were only about 30 old books. I was wondering how the children could study like this, so I told the principal, that I would come back within a month and bring 1,000 books to build and fill up the school’s library.
My life is very simple: I feel, I think and act accordingly. I felt deep within myself that I was meant to do this and had now to figure out the how. Consequently, I started to collect 1,000 books for Ccolccabamba. Since I photograph a lot of dancing events and work with many dance academies, I had some valuable connections and managed to collect 983 books within a month which I took to Ccoccabamba.
The first library
When I arrived at Ccolccabamba, the principal, teachers and students could not believe their eyes and thought I was just talking but actually not doing anything. All the students came out to held a ceremony. Enjoy the video of the ceremony. The first library was running.
Another friend who is a director of the BBVA bank in Peru gave me 250 backpacks with a notepad for all the children in school. I promised to be back in a month to hand over backpacks with a notebook in it. Everyone who would read a book within that month would receive it.
Teaching valuable lessons in life
Javier: “Reading and sharing have always been a big part of my life. Unfortunately, most people think that you can only share something if you have money. However, many times we can help others without money. I wanted to share my love of reading with the children. May they feel that wonderful experience of living different lives when you read, of exploring different worlds without being physically in them, of knowing people and cultures without seeing them in person. May your imagination take you wherever the books take you.”
Alex: “Wow, what a beautiful story you shared. What happened next?”
Javier: “I was surprised when I returned the following month, seeing the boys and girls putting up flip charts with their summaries of the books they read. Each student stood in front of his flipchart waiting for the director and me to pass by his side to explain what they read. I took photos and videos. I was in joy and asked myself: “How did this all happen?” Each of the students had deserved to receive their backpack including a notebook.
I was teaching everyone an important message: “… when you receive, you have to give. That is the circle of life. Everything flows and nothing is yours.” A child raised his hand and said: ” We are poor, we cannot give anything to anyone .“ I understood what he said. It is a common false belief of many people in this world. We have become so materialistic that we think that everything is related to money. We believe that if we do not have money, we cannot give and do anything. However, it is the will of wanting to do something that really makes an impact and not the money you have. I realised that I had to teach these kids a lot more.”
The project is growing and more books being delivered
Alex: “ What a beautiful and genuine statement. What is the next step in your project?”
Javier: “Two months later, I returned to see how everything went with the library. The 5th graders, who graduated from college that year, and the 4th-grade students, along with the school principal, invited me to a classroom to tell me how grateful and proud they were. Sadly, there are still a lot of other children of other towns that do not have libraries yet. There are 18 schools in that region. They asked me if I could organise 18,000 books. We made a deal: the students had to go to those villages to convince the directors to build a library and to teach the students about the importance of reading, in return I would bring them the books they needed.
Watch this video here.
I started contacting all my friends and everyone I met to collect more books. When you do things from your pure heart, everything is easily accomplished as everything flows. Of course, there is a lot of hard work involved, but it feels great. My friends helped me in this madness and little by little I collected 18,300 books.
A success story
Alex: “Can you share a success story so far?”
Yes, I can. Currently, all the boys and girls of 4th and 5th year of Ccolccabamba are studying in different universities of Peru in various professions that they have chosen.”
Alex: “What an impact you have made. They would not have been able to study in Lima now without your help.”
More valuable lessons to learn
Alex: “What other lessons did you team the children?”
Javier: “People are happy, are land owners and live in nature, but do not necessarily have the same opportunities that others have. I am a photographer thanks to my father, and I love what I do. In these villages the parents want their children to dedicate themselves to agriculture or livestock farming like they do. However, I teach them that doing what our parents do is not bad, but, why can’t we do what we love doing? Why cannot we be a veterinarian for example?
Most of the people in the small villages have limited believes that they cannot achieve much and good things will never happen in their lives. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer that we can achieve anything if we take actions; we have to read to educate ourselves.”
Extreme poverty hinders the education of children
Javier: “I have seen extreme poverty. Boys and girls who don’t have anything. They do not have notebooks and pencils. Many parents try hard to make the impossible possible for their children, so they can go to school, but many simply cannot afford this. Many boys and girls work with their parents in the countryside.
My mother did not go to school when she was a child, and her brother could only study at a school for two years. They had to work on the farmland and look after their animals. It’s amazing that almost 100 years later you still see the same. There are illiterate girls because they have to work at home to help their mothers.”
How we can help to change their life for the better
Javier: “There is so much more to accomplish. I have the strength, intelligence and passion that moves me in everything I am doing in my life. I earn my money by working hard, and if I need more, I would ask my friends with all sincerity and opened heart. Today, when I go to every town and every school, and I see every child with a book in my hands, I see my parents when they were children, walking in the highlands. They did not have that opportunity to go to a school and to read, but we can change it little by little.
I have started a competition of interpreting books in the schools. I want children to read more. The prize is a backpack full of school supplies to the two winners of each school. And the two winners represent their school in the provincial contest. Those two winners will win a laptop.
Last year I received a used laptop from a friend and two used computers. I took them to two schools where the students are reading a lot of books. A girl from Ccolccabamba was the lucky winner of the laptop . She is 12 years old and has read 105 books within three years. She is excellent at reading and is now writing poems and fantasy stories.”
Alex: “You have such a beautiful story to share and make such a significant impact on children’s life. You are very inspiring. What can we do to help you with your project?”
Javier: “I want to do so much more for these children, but I need help from everyone. The books and tools they need will present them with opportunities they cannot even imagine at this point in time. As it is expensive to ship books to Peru, you can make a donation via Paypal. I use your funds to buy the school supply and books for the children.”
Make an impact now and here is how
What a great project. Please help Javier and me to successfully complete the project of sending school supplies and books to the small villages in the Andes mountains. I will create a follow-up post and show you the impact you have made to the children. Javier will share his amazing photos and videos with you.
As the message Javier is teaching: You don’t need to be rich to give. If everyone is giving just a small amount of money, this will make already a huge difference.
Please share this post with everyone you know who likes to make an impact to people in need.
Please drop me an email via contact me from if you have any questions.