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Action: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

Imagine living in a place where your education wasn’t guaranteed. A place where children as young as 8 years old have to work to provide for their families. A place where people survive on a salary of less than $10 a day.
Now imagine if you had the opportunity to help them — would you?

Last year we joined Enactus Ryerson, a student-run organization that creates sustainable community projects through the positive power of business and entrepreneurship. Enactus Ryerson currently has eight projects across five countries. One of our most recent projects resides in Pisac, Peru.

Pisac is rural village located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 9,700 feet above sea level. The village is a tourist attraction known for its archaeological sites and traditional markets. Yet locals are trapped in a cycle of poverty, and students in the village are not motivated to continue their education because there is little opportunity for advancement.

With a team of seven students (Ahmed Shafik, Aidan Heintzman, Anthony Garcia, Jordan Hanna, Pavneet Sandhu, Savreen Gosal and Tran Mai) dedicated to empowering the residents of Pisac, we created project Sacred Valley.

The mission of our project is simple: curate local initiatives designed to empower schoolchildren and engage locals through the entrepreneurial spirit. With this in mind, our team travelled to Pisac for the first time in 2015 and partnered with a school in the town, the Kusi Kawsay Andean School, to implement an initiative at the school’s community garden, centred in entrepreneurship and organic agriculture.

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After speaking with the members of community, we quickly learned that at a young age students begin working at the market alongside their parents selling souvenirs to tourists. Families within the community survive on the little income they make running small shops, or selling goods in the market and student motivation remains low, due to the lack of opportunity they see within their own community.

To address the needs of the community, we worked with the Kusi Kawsay School to implement a sustainable solution for the children’s future. We conducted workshops for students focusing on organic agriculture and entrepreneurship. The goal was to work with the youth to transform a community garden into a sustainable business, providing students with an additional income towards their education.

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During the summer of 2016, our team made a second trip to launch a small business alongside the Kusi Kawsay School. We worked with the students and community leaders to create an organic cafeteria at the school’s community garden. We conducted workshops for the students teaching them the skills necessary to operate and manage the cafeteria.

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Currently, the schoolchildren and their teachers are running the organic cafeteria, holding monthly events to generate revenue and looking to expand the product line by growing new organic vegetables at the garden. We are also working with the school to create a second community garden, which will serve as a continuation of the success we’ve already had within Pisac.

Organizing seeds to plant at the Kusi Kawsay school farm

A photo posted by Project Sacred Valley (@projectsacredvalley) on

Follow us on our journey to help create a sustainable tomorrow!

Instagram: @ProjectSacredValley
Facebook: facebook.com/EnactusRyerson

Questions? Contact us at projectsacredvalley@enactusryerson.ca

Posted by Ahmed Shafik, Jordan Hanna, and Pavneet Sandhu