Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed Planeterra, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following Planeterra projects:
House of the People of the Sun
Inti Runakunaq Wasin (IRW) is Quechua for “House of the People of the Sun”. It is a non-profit organization based in Cuzco that acts as a haven for children and adolescents who live in extreme poverty. The home is open during the day and is run by a staff of volunteer teachers and social workers. Children are given the opportunity to voluntarily drop-in to receive help with homework, a warm meal and participate in a variety of classes and workshops that teach them valuable skills including jewelry making, leather working, cooking, music and English.
IRW currently rents a small house and supports 50 children through their programs. However, there are still many more children working and living on the streets of Cuzco. The goal of Planeterra together with IRW is to purchase a piece of land and build a bigger home in order provide support to more children and families.
Women’s weaving project – Ccaccaccollo Community
In January and March 2005, we developed and offered training courses to 123 people from four local communities just outside of Cuzco to work as Porters and Cooks on the Inca Trail. The women and wives of our cooks and porters from the Ccaccaccollo Community saw how we were working to provide jobs on the Inca Trail and approached us to ask us for support to develop a women's weaving project.
Three women from the Ccaccaccollo Community took part in a three month training course held by a local organization in which they learned ancient weaving techniques of the Incas including how to dye the wool using native flowers and plants. Each of the three women continued on to teach the rest of the women what they had learned and today 60 women have joined together to create the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Project.
Beginning in April 2005, we began to visit this community as part of the Sacred Valley Tour where they have the opportunity to meet the women and learn about all the stages of the weaving process; from spinning the sheep wool, to dying the wool using natural dyes, and participating in a weaving demonstration. Travelers are also given the opportunity to purchase high quality textiles directly from the women who made them.
By working directly with the Ccaccaccollo community we and the Planeterra Foundation are encouraging men and women to be proud of their cultural heritage, and enabling them to benefit from tourism in a way that avoids negative social and cultural impacts while providing economic benefits.