Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

The Ch'allma School

Project #
Bates College
  • Hannah Porst

The Ch’allma School Project

Hannah Porst studied abroad in Peru during her junior year at Bates, and while there she visited the remote Andean community of Ch’allmachimpana. When she was leaving, she asked her hosts how she could thank them for their hospitality. After some initial conversation about soccer shoes or similar contributions, the villagers told Hannah that they really needed a school. While the region is recognized for strong indigenous traditions, elders were worried that their children were not well prepared for the modern world that is all too quickly approaching. They were afraid the children were easy prey for exploitation if they ventured beyond the mountain villages.

Hannah returned to Bates and started to brainstorm and to fundraise. Before the Projects for Peace grant was made, she had already raised enough money to begin the school in temporary quarters. The Projects for Peace award made construction of an actual school possible, and building was completed over the summer. Members of the community were responsible for curriculum design and all aspects of building the school, from acquiring the materials to thatching the roof. A certified bilingual teacher was hired to teach the children to read and write in Quechua, their native tongue, and in Spanish. The goal is to enable the students to be part of the outside world while at the same time to preserve and nurture their cultural heritage and traditions.