South America is a beautiful destination, candid and colourful, but many South American countries are still working towards economic stability and equality. Drained by conflicts over the last few hundred years, these countries struggle to establish basic standards of living for their citizens. And even in the more prosperous areas there will be those that slip through the cracks, like in the favelas of Rio or shantytowns of Peru.
At Intrepid, we think travel should positively affect the places it touches. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation (TIF), a not-for-profit organisation that gives back to local communities and helps support those that, for one reason or another, struggle to support themselves. TIF has worked with many South American communities over the years, but here’s a little insight into current projects underway in this gorgeous continent.
Project Peru, one of the Foundation’s most recent initiatives, is trying to break the cycle of poverty for many of the children living in the desert shantytowns of Lima. It’s a chance for these kids, deprived of so many basic opportunities, to gain independence and learn new skills, including gardening, cooking, building, music and theatre. The children also attend a local state school and are given support and assistance in furthering their education. All staff working at the Project Peru Refuge come from the local area, and are invested in seeing these kids succeed and their community improve.
Living Heart began in 2007 as an educational program for the Andean people of Peru’s Sacred Valley, and it’s since grown to also teach nutrition and sustainable farming practices for the Valley’s poor and disadvantaged Indigenous population. We all know that healthy children learn better. And that good nutrition and a powerful community spirit can help break the cycle of poverty and hunger. Living Heart’s program includes the delivery of healthy breakfasts and lunches to malnourished children and the elderly, seeds and plants for organic gardens and doctor visits to the outlying rural communities.
For Charles Darwin, the Galapagos was key to unlocking the secrets of evolution, but since the 1800s much of that pristine habitat has been lost. Destruction of the islands, extinction of several species and the introduction of new foreign animals have damaged the fragile ecosystem Darwin first saw from the decks of the Beagle in the 1830s. The Charles Darwin Foundation is a scientific research project providing crucial advice to the Ecuadorian government for the preservation of the Galapagos. It has helped with the captive breeding of tortoises and iguanas, ecosystem restoration projects, scientific scholarship programs and the inclusion of the Galapagos as a World Heritage site.
Life is hard in Rio’s Rocinha favela, Brazil’s biggest slum. Most families live in small houses made of concrete. Disease and poor hygiene are rife. Education is minimal and children struggle to escape its narrow, crowded streets. Project Roupa Suja aims to change that through the provision of resources, medicine and education to the most vulnerable members of the favela community. The project helps provide daycare for children up to 5 years old, afterschool care programs, English and computer classes for elementary school students and social assistance, workplace training, support and psychological help for young and single mothers.
Intrepid will match each dollar you donate to TIF* to support its projects around the world and pays all administration costs. For more information on how you can make a difference, visit theintrepidfoundation.org
Image c/o Geraint Rowland, Flickr