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Celebration at Vila Maria

“A school which is a beacon of hope in its community, offering disadvantaged children an education and the chance of a better life”

Project Co-ordinator: Rosie Bichard
Location: Lima, Peru
Dates: School set up in 2003, La Vida supported sin
ce 2007


  • Primary school in a shanty town on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, where many residents lack access to basic services and other schools are either too far away or too expensive
  • The school had 130 pupils in 2014 of whom 26 had their costs covered by La Vida directly and another 21 were sponsored by our friends and supporters; capacity for 180 pupils and 12 dedicated teaching staff.
  • One of the main projects in 2013 and 2014 has been working with students and families to reduce the rate of children dropping out of school. Thanks to a number of measures, there were no dropouts in 2014.
  • Full programme of community outreach in collaboration with Quest Overseas volunteers including cinema shows, family entertainment on Sundays, summer camps for local children, adult education projects and house building for the neediest community members.
  • Recognised in 2014 as an Asociacion Civil in Peru (charitable status), potentially allowing it to qualify for further assistance
  • Sponsors receive regular updates on the children’s progress.

Description of Project

The Villa Maria school serves primary school-age children from as young as three in a very poor community on the outskirts of Lima where many residents live in substandard housing and lack access to basic services. The school provides them with a quality education, free to the neediest children, as well as a programme of outings and extra-curricular activities designed to broaden young minds and stimulate their experiences.

In the last ten years since the school was founded it has broadened its reach into the community by partnering with Quest Overseas and La Vida on a number of projects, including housebuilding, community cinema and Sunday family entertainment, an adult literacy programme, and summer camps and outings for the kids. Its work has been recognised by the local authorities including the Mayor.
In the past year the school has been working hard to move to charitable status in order to further reinforce its role in the community and broaden its access to funding. After much effort, this was finally awarded this spring, a fitting accolade after a decade of contribution to the education of local children. It has further exciting projects planned including music lessons for the pupils and adding an extra floor to allow more common areas for activities.
If you would like to experience the school for yourself, its Facebook page always has lots of recent pictures capturing the children’s achievements, and there are also regular postings of videos on You Tube. For more information on volunteering, contact Quest Overseas.
We are always looking for new sponsors for needy children, as well as for people who would be prepared to support the school for one-off projects. Please get in touch! The cost of sponsorship is currently set at £180 per year.

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