• Jennifer Spatz

2 Community-based Trips to Peru that Empower Women & Educate Children with Disabilities

Global Family Travels’ Learn, Serve and Immerse trips take families around the world and offer a variety of meaningful experiences to support many non-profit partners . We believe in the power of community-based travel experiences and connecting authentically to the locals to create greater learning opportunities for both the traveler and our host community. Therefore, we are excited to share information about 2 impactful trips to Peru in April of 2020 which empower women and girls and support the education of special-needs children.



Community-Based Tourism that Support Women and Education


Community-based tourism has the potential to contribute to many of the 17 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) through its impacts on fighting poverty, promoting decent jobs, improving gender equality and the fight against climate change. Many of Global Family Travels’ Learn, Serve, and Immerse tours align with these goals and these two trips to Peru support two goals that are important to us: universal quality education (UNSDG #4) and gender equality. (UNSDG #5) In partnership with two amazing non-profit organizations that work in the Peru's Sacred Valley, these immersive trips include a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, home-stays and participation in local service projects to support their missions to empower women and educate the disabled.

Peru: Learn, Serve & Immerse to Empower Women (April 11-19)

An important part of community development is supporting gender equality and women's empowerment (UNSDG #5), and Global Family Travels is delighted to support the good work of Awamaki, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower rural Andean women who are artisan weavers with skills-based education and connect them to the global marketplace so they can earn an income, support their families, and have the opportunity to turn around and transform their communities. This is accomplished in the form of artisanal fair-trade crafts cooperatives and sustainable tourism; both of which we will see in action on this family trip to Peru!


Homestays and Service Projects in Peru that Support Local Community


Travelers on this journey to Peru will have the opportunity to live with a Peruvian family in Ollantaytambo, a charming town with spectacular Inca ruins. Homestay hosts are middle-class “Ollantinos” who work as artisans, farmers, teachers, drivers and stay-at-home moms, all of whom have years of experience hosting visitors and volunteers, cooking food in a clean and healthy manner, helping guests improve their Spanish, and providing a local, insightful experience to travelers.


Travelers will also participate in a community service project that support female artisans, and learn how Awamaki applies economic development theories to their work to bring the greatest benefit to the local women. Looking at development from theory to practice, we will learn the differences between aid and development, and how Awamaki utilizes these theories in its work.


Positive Effects of Community Based Tourism in Peru

“One of the most powerful effects of tourism in the community is how the women have taken leadership," says Executive Director of Awamaki, Kennedy Leavens. "They elected one of the women to be a tourism leader who is responsible for coordinating the tours and the homestays, and communicating to the group who needs to show up on what day. Initially, they wanted the men to organize the tourism, or Awamaki staff, but we told them we could only bring in tourists if they took the responsibility. Now, the women are managing it all themselves, and earning all the money too! This year we are training them to receive tourists and give a tour when the tourists are not accompanied by a guide from Awamaki. This will enable them to earn a sustainable income in the future and not be dependent on any one NGO or client to bring them tourists." (Leavens)


We will also spend time exploring the large stone terraces that form the town of Ollantaytambo, which are a must-see in Peru's Sacred Valley!

Peru: Lend A Hand with Manos Unidas: two trips in April to held Support Quality Education for Disable Children


On this 9-day trip to Peru, you will learn about the ancient history and cultures of the Sacred Valley, volunteer with Manos Unidas Peru, a non-profit school for special education in Cusco, Peru with the mission to help improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and their families. Together, with Manos Unidas International, we have crafted a heartfelt 8-day itinerary with care, weaving together extraordinary adventures with intimate opportunities to experience the impact of Manos Unidas in Cusco.


Access to quality education is key to improving people’s lives and sustainable development and this trip supports the important goal of Quality Education (UNSDG #4).

Students of Manos Unidas, Peru


This trip combines visits to top tourist sites in the Sacred Valley, such as Machu Picchu and the ruins of Moray, as well as experiencing gorgeous Easter celebrations. Highlights of our trip are the unique immersive experiences, such as enjoying home made lunch with host families in the Quechua community, a mini Olympics at the Manos Unidas School, playing a game of soccer with Manos Unidas students, and helping a family whose children attend Manos Unidas in their home.


Andenes (circular agricultural terraces) in Peru's Sacred Valley


And, there is no better way to experience Peru than with Manos Unidas and the organization's Founder, Celeste Marion, who has lived and walked the land for more than 15 years. She grew this grass roots social change project from the ground up to improve the lives of children and youth with disabilities in the region and she knows Cusco like the back of her hand and will help show us this magical region’s people and places through a lens most travelers to Peru wouldn’t normally access.

Celeste Marion, Founder of Manos Unidas, with MU Students


The unique experience of visiting the rural Quechya village of Amaru, where we learn how to dye wool and weave blankets, comes from Celeste’s community connections and friendships in the town of Pisaq where she lived with her family for many years. Other highlights include cooking with our host families, meeting Manos Unidas students and playing soccer with them and be waited on in our youth run café or help a family in their home. Learn more about this trip from a traveler who shared her recent experience: Treasured Hugs from Our Travel to Peru in Support of a Special School.


On both of these trips, you will welcomed by the diverse Peruvian people who take pride in offering incredible services and experiences to visitors that include traditional foods, celebrations and festivals.


And of course, a visit to the Sacred Valley isn't complete without a visit to Machu Picchu, an Incan fotress set high in the Andes Mountains overlooking the Urubamba River Valley!




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