Today, we’re reflecting on how we’re advancing women’s rights via our partnership with the Sacred Valley Project, a nonprofit enabling education for young women in the Andes. Although community-based tourism helps, we must take further action to pursue equality.
It’s the early morning of January 26th, 2022. News outlets —and social media feeds— are still howling at the great setback that has been the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And yes, the dismantling itself is bleak, but its repercussions —as a precedent for conservatives around the globe to do the same, especially in nations where equality has yet to reach the presidential agenda— are as harrowing.
I’ve always been the one for bridging dialogue when polarizing topics appear within public conversation. To do so, one has to, usually, make the extra effort of diverging from the usual pundits and publications to empathize with—and most importantly, intellectually and morally understand— the “appalling” and “unfounded” views of the other side. But this time, I simply had to scroll through the NYTimes to face the opposing beliefs on a piece by Dr. Karen Prior. And although beautifully written, it came down to the same old hair-pulling, white-knuckled discussion of how much of a human is an embryo.
Still, among the lines, there was sharp criticism of the current supreme reign of individualism, and I couldn’t but concede that to the pro-life author. Our “me” instead of “we” ethos has overflowed not only our economic discourse but the ones around life, too. We need, beyond community-driven safety nets, a well-oiled machine propelling women.
All of this took me back to Terra Explorer‘s work with The Sacred Valley Project, a nonprofit organization (to which we’ve become partners and sponsors) enabling secondary education for young women in the otherwise unattended remote Andes in Peru. A testament to how we, the community, can foster young women by ensuring their rights when no one else will.
In Peru —as in much of the less-industrialized world— poverty is tightly knitted to geographical isolation. The further a woman is from urban hubs, the less accessible public services and job opportunities become. And so, to many young girls inhabiting the sparsely populated Sacred Valley, secondary schools are miles and miles away. Subsequently, (absent) transportation becomes an issue.
Some other families, without ill intent, simply need more hands at their subsistence-level farms. To their eyes, time at school could be better utilized in the fields. Add to that lingering sexism, and you have a dismal, corrosive recipe for unschooled women unable to break off from a seemingly never-ending poverty cycle.
In short: free and nourishing education, nutritious food, a decent place to stay (beds and all), healthy playtime, facilitation of undergraduate scholarships, and most importantly, a window into a world where women can dream, excel, and fend for themselves.
The mission of the Sacred Valley Project is to provide education, but to ensure it, you must fill in for the host of other absent public services. You have to eliminate “friction” so parents do not feel compelled to take the girls out of class and into the fields.
These Homeric efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Obama Foundation, via its Girls Opportunity Alliance, has laureled and funded this beacon of change.
But the work here isn’t anywhere to be done. The Sacred Valley Project is still a small-scale organization, and these contributions merely increase its reach and scope. So donations are always welcomed.
Donating is the obvious answer (reminder that these are a hundred percent tax-deductible). You can go to our IMPACT tab and scroll down till you see the nonprofits we support. Or you can simply google the organization and donate through their website.
Make sure to book community tours and partake in community-based experiences when traveling to directly contribute to indigenous peoples who are, more often than not, in disadvantageous situations. Get some inspiration by checking our community-based tourism activities.
Travel, especially luxury travel, should be transformative for all. And in times when rights are not granted, we, the community, have to assure future generations they will live in a better, fairer world.
Also, if you’re coming to Peru and want to make sure your trip has a purpose beyond hedonism, contact us. Over the years, our team has built a sustainable travel network with indigenous communities and nonprofits to protect nature and advance the living conditions in the Andes.
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