Q: How did you first get involved with the Sacred Valley Project?
A: In May of 2009 I was trekking the Sacred Valley to Machu Pichu to raise money for a charity called “Beating Bowel Cancer” our leader was Max Loayza from Ollantaytambo. As part of the trek we stopped off at the little primary school in Anaschocha to drop off some supplies we had bought. <see the pic> The teacher there was just amazing, and he said something to us that I found both profound and very moving. What he said was “These children are the future of Peru”. I thought of those words many times over the following months and resolved to try to help where I could with the education of indigenous people of the Scared Valley. At first this involved sending gifts over to the school via Max, then I saw the Sacred Valley Project start to take shape, and the goals of the project chimed perfectly with what I wanted to help with. I have worked in higher education in the UK since 1986 and know what a difference education can make to people’s lives. As soon as I saw the project I was hooked on it!! Q: What has been the most surprising thing to you about your involvement with SVP?
A: I think the way the project has just grown from fairly modest – but important – beginnings. There are now more girls enjoying secondary education than I guess anyone could have hoped for in those early days. A real testament to the hard work of all involved, especially the girls. Q: What is something you wish other people knew about SVP?
A: I think the real difference that SVP is making to the lives of the girls, but importantly to the future of the community. To give the gift of education and opportunity is simply priceless, but people can help do this by just donating regular amounts to the project. Q: Why do you support SVP as opposed to other groups doing similar work?
A: Education has always been something I have cherished, I came from a very modest, working-class background were very, very few people went on to higher education, let alone became professors. Education enabled me to maximise my potential, those words of that teacher that day touched my heart, and I knew that SVP was the project I wanted to focus on. Similar groups in Peru and South America are also doing great work, but SVP is where my heart is ☺ Q: Given the growing interest in girls’ education worldwide, what is one thing you think will grow or change over the next five years with SVP?
A: I have seen many groups combining efforts and collaborating to focus on the importance of education of young girls, I think this movement will go from strength to strength. The internet now provides access to worldwide information, and I hope will provide an even broader base for the girls’ continuing education. I am optimistic that these educational opportunities will become increasingly available and am certain that SVP will be in the forefront of capturing those opportunities. Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating or volunteering with SVP?
A: There was a film a few years ago about “Paying it forward” the idea that you help people without any wish to benefit from it, the good deed just rolls on into the future. If you want to be part of something grand that invests for the future, then be part of this amazing project. After all “These children are the future of Peru”