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Merging ancient knowledge and traditions of the Andes with sustainability practices

The Kusi Kawsay Association, seeks to empower the children, youth and adults of Indigenous communities in the Sacred Valley near Cusco, Peru through the creation and support of permanent, multidisciplinary programs through its Andean school, community-produced videos, cultural center, workshops, traditional music and dance group, radio broadcasts, and cultural exchanges with other Indigenous communities.

 

Kusi Kawsay Andean School



Kusi Kawsay Andean School is a self-governed and non-profit school rooted in Andean tradition that empowers economically challenged children from Pisac region to become confident young adults and leaders for the future. We are a coeducational school accredited by the Ministry of Education of Peru, serving Kindergarten through High School.

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Kusi Ñan Organic Farm



Kusi Ñan is an Organic Farm created by the graduates of the Kusi Kawsay Andean School. Inspired by their Kusi Kawsay education, the first graduates (2012) were motivated to revitalize and reclaim their culture by contributing to their community as agents of change. Kusi Ñan serves as a model for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation.

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Ñawpa Ñan Cultural Events



Ñawpa Ñan means ‘Ancient Path’ in Quechua. This amazing grassroots cultural work throughout the years still serves as a strong foundation of our Sumak Kawsay (Buen Vivir / Good Living) philosophy, present in all the projects that have come to fruition since.

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View the Scholarship Fund by clicking here


About Us

Founding Families

WHY?

Historically, Indigenous people have been denied formal education. It was not until the 1950s that education was officially legalized as a public school system. However, the system does not respect local cultural values. It has also triggered an exodus to towns and cities; affecting community and family dynamics. When children and youth migrate, they often find an education that denigrates their heritage, and relays the message that to be successful one must be a ‘professional,’ which implies never returning to their community. Furthermore, knowledge through higher education is rarely put into practice in the traditional communities.

WHO?

More than 20 years ago the 5 founding families of the Kusi Kawsay Association, inspired by the values and traditions of the Andean culture, began with small grassroots initiatives within communities to start local Ñawpa Ñan (Ancient Path) cultural centers and organize educational workshops aimed at reinvigorating, promoting, protecting and celebrating the Andean Culture.

HOW?

As these initiatives grew, Pachamama’s Path was formed to help sustain this work. This work is one way to empower the endangered traditional way of life, while inspiring others to do the same. When they realized that education was the most effective way to create change, they began to work within the public school system with a Waldorf teacher and specialist. Waldorf pedagogy shares a similar approach to life as Indigenous Cosmo Vision encompassing ideals of peace, solidarity and reciprocity.

WHEN?

The vision was realized with an independent school for local children with no economic means. “Kusi Kawsay” (Happy Life in Quechua) Andean School was born in 2010. Kusi Kawsay is now an accredited primary and secondary school with an attendance of more than 100 children.

WHERE?

Pisac, Peru in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We are located at the base of the Pisac archaeological site.

WHAT NEXT?

In 2012, the first graduating class of Kusi Kawsay faced a challenge. The reality of limited options, discrimination and lack of financial resources determines the fate of many young people. The graduates were motivated to revitalize and reclaim their culture by contributing to their community as agents of change. “Kusi Ñan” (Happy Path in Quechua), was created. The Kusi Ñan project of organic agriculture became a source of employment for the alumni and provided a creative solution.

Mission & Vision

Mission
To honor, cultivate and celebrate the ancient wisdom of Andean Indigenous communities through education, agriculture and cultural activities rooted in reciprocity, respect, love and social justice.

Vision
To serve as a model which encourages global awareness that respects cultural and ecological diversity, honoring the wisdom of Indigenous traditions and cultivating unity of human beings within a framework of reciprocity, respect and social justice

Our Guiding Principle
Reciprocity, or Ayni, the Andean mandate of giving and receiving in all aspects of life, plays a significant role in Kusi Kawsay’s approach. The revival of ancestral cultural practices and rituals by students and their families is creating a ‘living legacy’ for the community. This work has sustained the community’s ties to its rich Andean roots.

Core Values

Respect, Love and Reciprocity are the three main pillars of all the world we realize through our projects.

Andean Legacy

The Andean Legacy (Good Living in Quechua is Sumak Kawsay) Program is the gathering, celebrations and events that take place in various parts of Peru. It was instituted to honor the communities’ traditional culture while providing the platform to advocate for their rights and self-direction of land and resources. The initiative seeks to protect and conserve the Andean cultural identity and the resources/sacred land of the Apus that are vital to the cultural survival.

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Projects

Kusi Kawsay Association encourages global awareness and respect cultural and ecological diversity, honoring the wisdom of indigenous traditions and cultivating unity of human beings within a framework of reciprocity, respect and social justice through its three initiatives: The Kusi Kawsay Andean School, Kusi Ñan Organic Farm and Ñawpa Ñan Cultural Events.

In addition, the Association hosts workshops, special events, cultural exchanges and other integral educational activities that reinforce, promote and protect the values and knowledge of Andean culture—and in this way, empower the endangered traditional way of life.

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Get involved

Contributing to the Kusi Kawsay Association ensures a dignified education rooted in Andean culture, opportunities for youth in agriculture and entrepreneurship, as well as preserving, celebrating and promoting Andean tradition.

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Partners & Alliances

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