Tag Archives: community development

Community Development in Cusco, Peru

Balaban-Peru-Volunteers

Volunteers Prepare to Leave for Host Communities

June 16, 2012. Bienvenidos from chilly Cusco! I’m writing from Casa Campesina, a lovely hostel in Cusco where 42 of our volunteers and many of their community members and a handful of students from the local university are training for their summer projects. Project Staff has spent the past few weeks preparing to place our volunteers in homestay families in rural communities in the regions of Ccorca, Lamay, Combapata and Paruro. The volunteers leave tomorrow and then the real work begins – helping them and their adopted families benefit somehow from the next two months.

Throughout training, we’ve pushed the volunteers to think critically about their role in their new communities. Are they here to help? Or to support? Are they here to teach? Or are they here to learn? Each community is budgeted approximately $400 which they can use to carry out a Community Based Initiative – a small project designed by the community. In the past, communities have used this money to paint a mural, to build a community stove or to construct a bus stop. Many communities, in my experience, see this money as a gift – our volunteers live with them, eat with them and learn from (them all for free) for two months and in return the community gets a project of their choosing. Some volunteers, again in my experience, see the Community Based Initiative as their responsibility – they feel that if they don’t give their community something cool then they have failed. This is not true and neither of these things is our goal in AMIGOS.

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