Parobamba, Peru

Parobamba is a rural indigenous community of about 300 inhabitants located in the Challabamba district in the highlands of Peru, north of the city of Cusco. This district is at the edge of the Cusco department, and borders the Manu National Park, a biosphere reserve on the edge of the Peruvian tropical rainforest.

Parobamba is very isolated and hard to access, and as in many other rural communities, its inhabitants have received little attention from the government over the years. However, Parobamba is surrounded by very fertile land, with high quality pastures, which allows many families to live off subsistence agriculture. The main occupations of the villagers are agriculture, artisanal work, and weaving.

The business of experiential tourism is beginning to take off as well. Although many villagers have migrated to cities in the search for jobs, Parobamba strongly values its ancestral traditions and their connection to the surrounding land. The community has many projects for the future in order to preserve traditional practices and bring a better quality of life to its people.

In 2016, we successfully raised funds for two initiatives in this community, and partnered with Copa Airlines to fly team members to Peru. The winning team merged its initiative with that of a runner-up to best respond to the community’s needs, and with the work of Mosqoy, a Peruvian-Canadian charity that promotes social justice and cultural rights in the Andes through local and global initiatives. While their work in Parobamba is ongoing, and despite the challenges encountered, the implementation team has made great strides toward the full construction of a greenhouse and weaving centre, working to stimulate the local economy at every step of the way.