The Andean Baroque route consists of the visit to 4 churches in Cusco: La Iglesia de la Compañía (Church of the Company of Jesus) the Canuncunca, the Huaro and the Andahuaylillas churches. These four churches are currently run by the Jesuit order in Peru that allocates the income generated by the visits to the temples and the sales of the route’s stores to improve the inhabitants’ living conditions through social work. For more information about each temple click HERE.
In this article we will focus on the social work carried out thanks to the people that take this tour.
In the province of Quispicanchi, south of Cusco, 650 boys and girls, divided in four dining rooms, are served.
Boys, girls and teenagers that are exposed to a high degree of vulnerability such as poverty, single-parent families, family violence, among others, are provided with well-balanced food in the diners of Andahuaylillas, Huaro, Urcos and Ocongate. Personal hygiene habits are put into practice and they are taught to brush their teeth, wash their hands and hair. In many cases, personal hygiene habits are not taught at home and they are very important for health, protection against stomach infections and for their personal development.
After lunch, the boys and girls go to the library where they do their homework supported by a tutor since in most cases the children’s parents are illiterate or have just studied until second grade of primary school and it is not possible for them to support their children at home. Additionally, to help them improve their reading comprehension there are other activities that draw the children’s attention such as story-telling, the book hospital, silence watchers and “bebeteca” or library for the early childhood, among others. We can find 4 libraries in the same province where 350 boys and girls receive support.
Quispicanchi has 4 computer labs that are used by 250 boys and girls. These labs are used as a support for doing their homework, and the children are supervised by teachers who teach them to use them properly. The computers are used after going to the library to promote the research through books and encyclopedias. These computer labs keep the children more updated regarding technology.
There are 3 play centers where approximately 360 boys and girls go to, once they finish their homework, so they can relax and develop their fine and gross motor skills. The activities carried out mainly through playing, allow them to strengthen their self-esteem and develop their social and personal skills. These games allow the identification of the kind of violence they are victims of (physical, psychological and/or sexual) in order to take immediate action through the parish defenders.
Games that let the children develop their creativity, innovation, patience and team work are performed, as well as handcrafts, music, theater and environmental care activities. All these activities are focused on strengthening the children’s self-esteem, values and social skills.
The luthier workshop is possible thanks to the commitment of Sinfonía por el Perú, a foundation created and presided by the tenor Juan Diego Flores, Backus and the Society of Jesus. This workshop is oriented to 14 to 21-year-old youngsters who learn to manufacture stringed instruments such as guitars and violins made of walnut wood, mahogany, Baltic pine, rosewood and palm tree. Once the instruments are manufactured they are owned by the youngsters, so they can learn to play and create music.
In the weaver workshop, 40 ladies are trained to weave with knitting needles. The production is commercialized and
exported to countries such as Australia, so they receive fair payments. Several textiles for babies are manufactured here: blankets, dresses, onesies, sweaters, chullos (woollen caps) and alpaca and cotton stuffed toys, which go through a quality control that emphasizes on details and that is aligned with the market demands.
Our visit to the churches of the Andean Baroque Route, will therefore, leave us not only with beautiful pictures and admiration for art but with the pride of supporting hundreds of boys, girls, teenagers and families to build a better country and have a better life quality.
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