Now that the main project of getting a primary/secondary school started has been achieved, we are now looking at ways of enhancing what we have. This is not necessarily directly to do with the classroom furnishings or provision, but a broadening of the word “education”.

March 2020 will see the opening of the Masters English Bakery Training School
Yes, we now have the next part of our “Helping Peruvians to Help Themselves” idea.  I do not want any child from our school to go back to the streets in order to earn something to help their families, they are capable of more. (see “Angie” in the “news” section)

So plan A – we started off in Cusco, the other side of the Andes to ask the mayor of Oropesa for a piece of land. YES!! very enthusiastically….and 2 years later, nothing. Too much in-fighting from those who own the huge eucalyptus bread ovens. Plan B was another site within another school but they wanted more money for one workshop than I started the school with!

Then we had C – H!! which is where we are now – plan H is working with Padre Omar who has given me a piece of land on his site in Villa Salvador. The abandoned children that he looks after will also be training there.

We envisage that the new institute will cover all aspects of bread and cake making and include an element of administration. We hope to invite local bakers to contribute to the teaching of the students, but we really need volunteers from Peru, the UK and other countries. I have anticipated the lack of Spanish speakers from the UK by suggesting that all the technical teaching will be done in English! So far, people in the authorities are very pleased with that idea, since everyone is very keen to learn English and spend a lot of time and effort trying to do so, with very little quality outcome.

We will also be asking local people to contribute their skills, including the prospective students. I have learned from the building of Santa Maria, that that gives a feeling of ownership and interest to the people – and is more likely to keep the  building safe.

So the students, some local and some from Pachacutec, will study for approximately 8 months, and then we will do our best to help them find appropriate jobs. There will be some accommodation for visiting bakers who are lending their expertise and for my pupils from Pachacutec who will be able to use the dormitories as it is a distance for them to travel.

The difference this will make to their families’ fortunes is unimaginable for us, but as one parent said to me recently in Pachacutec “My biggest hope is that my daughter will be the first one in our family to complete secondary education. The idea that as well as this she might be qualified to do a job, is everything to me.” For those people, we will make all the effort in the world.

The whole idea has been favourably received in the UK by various bakery colleges and tutors, students and industry supporters. I am open to all suggestions and contributions of every sort including and especially, money and expertise. Although no one in Educateperu receives any kind of payment including expenses, we still will need more money than we currently have to achieve all our goals to ensure success for those students: eg the bakery equipment, even secondhand, is very expensive.

The  site is not near to Santa Maria, hence the dormitories but we are also going to invite the mothers of our pupils to come and train too. This was their idea and they are right. The way to support children and their families is to help them to help themselves via quality work opportunities and training. That is what Educateperu is about.


2012 – Water Project
Obviously, as Lima is a cool desert, it never rains in the way we would understand it. So after a very generous Lenten Appeal donation from the Bishop of Norwich in 2011, we were able to put in another block of conventional toilets at the school. These are not only very civilizing for the children, who have silo toilets at home, but means that we have been able to recycle the water from the toilets and kitchen, store it underground and pump it up to water the green spaces in the school grounds. So now we really are an oasis in the desert-like surroundings of the Pachacutec sand dunes with our trees, bushes and flowers – this cannot be seen anywhere else there. The beneficial psychological side effect is that the children love to sit in the shade of this vegetation in the summer, chat with their friends, or just sit and appreciate their surroundings – all of which has a very calming effect on them.

recycled water pumped up from underground tanks achieves this
this is the newest State school, just over the road from our school

We also now have a water purification system, thanks to the International Rotarians. This now means that all the children drink clean water for free every day, up in the dining room and local parents can come and also fill up a container for a tiny payment…since obviously, the school’s water bill has increased tremendously!! But, so has the health of the children. One of the notable things for me is how TALL the children are now, compared with 11 years ago when I started the school. We also do not see or have children with pink hair any more – Kwashiorkor.

Playground Equipment

On July  11th 2009, the playground equipment donated by the Rotarians of Diss, was set up. Children have very little concept of play here – they go to school and then go home and work – minding younger siblings, or actually working themselves, or accompanying their mothers so as not to be left at home on their own. Play equipment is a means of teaching children to share and socialize. We now have swings and a climbing game, volley ball equipment (a national sport here), football nets. After concreting over the “pitch”, the next piece of equipment will be a big trampoline for the older ones.


Games, teams, fitness events not only have the obvious health and social benefits as are well known, but there, in the hardship of daily life, it’s an escapism for children, a bit of pure fun. The children are fun and love playing, but they are remarkably serious for their ages too, as if they have grown up before their time.


Links with other people

Part of a child’s education anywhere in the world, is learning about other people’s lives. Sometimes the smallest detail stays with a child. I often do talks, assemblies, go to meetings, all with the idea of enlightening people to the detail of a child’s life in Pachacutec. They are mostly very poor people there, who eat once a day and sometimes not that. The majority cannot work any harder than they do and yet they still have nothing? Most of the mothers had to leave school before achieving a secondary certificate, so do not qualify for any further formal education………yet we have some of the brightest children that I have ever taught, there in our school in Peru.
So in order to show students in the UK what children’s lives here are like, Myriam Peake, head of MFL at Pakefield High School and I have formed a partnership link. The pupils exchange letters, which we use in the classroom lessons to translate, talk about the different life styles. The “star” poster shows hands each finger of which has a piece of information about the child who wrote it – a lovely idea. The students at Pakefield also sponsor a student in Pachacutec, who would otherwise not be in school, as he is brain damaged at birth and suffers a congenital lung problem. Last year he nearly died. They did so well at fund raising this year, that Jhonatan now has his own room, with a roof that is closed to the elements, so that he won’t suffer so much. He will be able to finish his secondary education, against all the odds and have some choices in his life. That is what we are about.

Painting the school with murals


Parents from Pachacutec and volunteers from Markham school in Miraflores, were involved in this on a very hot weekend during the holidays. Three years later, it was still in place and looking good. They painted the children’s dreams…red apples on green trees, ducks on a pond, hot air balloons… amazing….and then look at the photos of their reality and ask yourself “where did those ideas come from?”

Now in 2019, Markham has volunteered again, this time to use their older pupils to help our students in Pachacutec, to practise and improve their English via an online link. We will be investigating that shortly and then taking Markham pupils (the most successful private school in South America) for a one-off visit to Pachacutec, to show them the reality of other children’s lives, who only live an hour or so away from them.

However, none of this is achievable without goodwill, finances and volunteers. I hate to say that it is often a question of money, but it is. Time and action is often donated here, but money for materials is always the key as to what we get started with. If you have any expertise in these matters, if there is anything that you could advise on, help with, donate or organise yourselves, please get in touch with me at thank you.