Extraordinary Respect

Click below on ExtraordinaryRespect to enjoy this short story by Rene Franco Salas – Kusi Kawsay President:


“I would like to say that if you have ever supported Kusi Kawsay, then you are doing something immense for humanity, for existence and for the cosmos.” – Rene Franco Salas

Urpillay Sonqollay – Expression of Gratitude in Quechua


click to enlarge the image


*if you would like artwork from students or Andean culture, please e.mail us at info@kusikawsay.org

Share your Ideas

We have been beyond fortunate to meet so many amazing people throughout the journey of this project.  Many of you have been inspired by Kusi Kawsay and return home with the motivation of supporting us through various initiatives.  We are very grateful to you!  If you have ideas for Kusi Kawsay, please share them with us!  We’d love to hear from you.  Contact us at info@kusikawsay.org

We look forward to using this space to share ideas that have supported our work in the past and introduce some of the incredible people who have realized creative projects, fundraisers and more – coming soon!



Kusi Kawsay welcomes specialists who can mentor and accompany our teachers and staff in many areas. Fluency in Spanish is preferable, as is a 6 months commitment yet we are open to further discussions.  Please contact us at info@kusikawsay.org for details.

Mentoring areas include but not limited to:

  • Waldorf mentors
  • Education mentors
  • Agriculture / Permaculture specialists
  • Non – profit management specialists
  • Audio / Visual specialists
  • Marketing

We have been honored to have professionals lend their expertise to our teachers, staff and students. Thank you so much for your guidance, time and energy!

Professional Educators Lend Expertise

Kusi Kawsay is also very fortunate to have professional volunteers as well. Many visiting teachers give of their expertise in the classroom, helping to develop curriculum training for our teachers as well.  Such interactions set the stage for many valuable exchanges and make us more connected to the world of education.  These collaborations mutually enrich the experiences of all of us, which is evident in the number who do return and aim to stay involved.

Teresa Swayne from Taos New Mexico USA, mentioned in our last newsletter, was our first professional English teacher.  In only 4 months, her experience and capacity to engage at all levels had a transformative effect.  She not only taught the entire student body at Kusi Kawsay, but also the administrative staff and some teachers, as well as a few Kusi Kawsay alumnae participating in the farm project.  She also helped develop the English curriculum for Kusi Kawsay. She was here from the end of February to the end of June and made some strong personal connections.  We really miss her and hope she will come back to teach the students.  Mildred, a student from the fourth grade, especially misses her, and was so sad when it was time to say goodbye.

We were honored to have Vera Hoffman, a Waldorf teacher from Germany visit Kusi Kawsay for several weeks as she investigated and shared her expertise with our teachers providing valuable guidance in our ongoing intercultural curriculum development. Florian Oswald, a renowned Waldorf specialist from Germany visited Kusi Kawsay, and our teachers had the great opportunity to attend an important Waldorf conference he gave in Lima last July.

Ursula Locher returned to offer her expertise and experience to our teachers, which is always so rewarding. We are so grateful that she takes time and energy to be an important part of this work.

Gerd Kellerman, a German Waldorf teacher traveling the world, offered our teachers an intensive week-long training that was very enriching. Thank you!

These amazing visiting teachers from all over the world offer Kusi Kawsay so much, and along with the long-term teacher training partnership with ProHumanus, our teachers continue to learn so as to better serve our students, parents and community and continually improve the educational experience offered at Kusi Kawsay.


Wish List

Kusi Kawsay’s current needs include:

Funding for:

  • Re-roofing of straw covered buildings at Kusi Kawsay
  • Playground shade structure (to protect from rain and heat) – URGENT
  • Water Supply System (Electric Pump)
  • Economic support to purchase Transportation / Truck – URGENT
  • Security Camera (for School’s Administrative space)

(for more information regarding any of the above needs, e.mail info@kusikawsay.org)

Donated items or Funding to purchase:

  • Audio visual equipment: sound system and projector – URGENT
  • Professional video camera
  • Recoding equipment
  • Outside lighting equipment
  • 10 Wireless microphones
  • Chemistry equipment – microscopes
  • Easels
  • Waldorf materials: specialized watercolor paper, Stockholm paints, paintbrushes, fountain pens, beeswax block and long crayons
  • Mobile Shade structures to protect from the intense sun during school events
  • Kitchen supplies – especially large pots and pans!
  • Books for Library
  • Bookshelves for classrooms

We truly appreciate any ability to donate one of the items mentioned in this list.  We also understand that some items are difficult to travel with and therefore wholeheartedly welcome donations to purchase these specific items.  Thank you so much!

If you would like to contribute any additional items to Kusi Kawsay, feel free to contact us.

For further information regarding the items listed above, please contact us at info@kusikawsay.org

We appreciate your support!


Story of the School

Our Story

Kusi Kawsay was built in the traditional Andean way of undertaking monumental challenges through communal effort. It is the underpinning of traditional Andean life, which is the bedrock of the Kusi Kawsay School. Starting in August 2009 with little money but an abundance of conviction, enthusiasm and commitment, parents and community members manually moved boulders and built classroom walls using traditional methods, installed environmentally friendly water and compost systems, and constructed impressive terraces with sweeping stone stairways.

Beyond the “sweat equity” in constructing the school, parents of Kusi Kawsay students are involved in all aspects of supporting Kusi Kawsay – as board members, as teachers of specialized workshops on traditional Andean arts and Andean philosophy and traditions, as well as foreign languages, as active participants in their children’s learning and making decisions about the school’s direction.

Kusi Kawsay would not exist but for the sheer will, determination and self-initiation of local parents – turning their desire for social justice into a reality not only for their own children but their community and beyond. By demonstrating the ability to shape their own future, the parents of Kusi Kawsay are modeling a path for other communities around Pisac, in Peru and around the world to be healthy and resilient.

Nestled at the base of a majestic Andean mountain and Incan terraces, a small nonprofit school known as Kusi Kawsay (Happy Life in Quechua language) overlooks Pisac, Peru in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. What was once an unused, rocky hillside has now been transformed into an education and cultural center of activity for 100 children from Kindergarten to 11th grade, their parents and the broader community. Founded by a small group of local parents, Kusi Kawsay is an educational alternative that is preparing the next generation of indigenous children to be empowered advocates for a happy and meaningful life both locally and globally. With its unique curriculum that offers a full academic program combining a rich body of ancestral Andean knowledge, philosophy and traditions with tested Waldorf Pedagogy and principles, Kusi Kawsay’s mission is to foster personal and cultural self-esteem based on respect, reciprocity and dignity while providing its students with the skills to navigate both modern and traditional worlds.

Kusi Kawsay’s goal is to offer and promote an alternative, quality education model that nurtures, develops and empowers future leaders for a balanced world. Through honoring the value of happiness and wellbeing, Kusi Kawsay aims to be not only an educational program but also a strategy for broad cultural revival and social change to ensure the rights of indigenous people.