Join our team in the shanty town of Villa Maria in Lima, Peru, giving thousands of children a summer holiday they will never forget. Then take on the Andes and Amazon in an adrenaline filled expedition through Peru and Bolivia

Overview
Why Villa Maria?

Quest has been working in the shanty town of Villa Maria on the outskirts of Lima since 1997. What started out as a simple programme of games and activities over the Peruvian summer holidays (Jan-Mar) has now grown into a year round project, with schools, house construction and community outreach all being supported by our teams and local project staff.

With a population of over 750,000, Villa Maria is a text book example of rural urban migration. Communities from all over Peru have settled here, often without any support from the government, building their homes with anything they could get their hands on. With parents often both working long hours throughout the week, children are left to fend for themselves, with the risk of falling into bad habits such as drugs, gangs and crime a real and present one. Our aim here is a simple one, to help give the younger kids a focus for their time – sport, art, dance, music – so that when they do grow up, the risk of being led astray is reduced.

Your role

Our gap year team is in Villa Maria during the Peruvian summer holidays, where literally thousands of children are on the streets looking for things to do. The team’s job (with support from our local project staff) is to create a programme of summer events in several communities in Villa Maria, organising activities for hundreds of children. Sports tournaments, stages shows, children’s fetes and trips to the local swimming pool are just some of the things that can make their summer one they will never forget. Be a human climbing frame, a clown, dress up as Mickey Mouse and arrange a 50-a-side tug-o-war all in the same day! Living in the heart of Villa Maria, you will become part of the community and experience a life so far removed from your own. At the same time, you will be giving genuine support to the children in the district.

Expedition

Following your project, head off for a month on a mind blowing expedition through Peru and Bolivia. Go sandboarding down the dunes of Huacachina, head up onto the glaciers of Huayna Potosi for some ice climbing, trek through forgotten Andean valleys and finish it all off with the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – an assault on the senses!

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Itinerary


Time Location Activities
Weeks 1-5 Villa Maria in Lima, Peru Living in the heart of the community, organising a summer programme of games and activities for children from 5-13 years old.
Week 6 Peruvian coastal desert and Arequipa Boating out to the Ballestas islands, sandsurfing down the dunes of Huacachina and exploring the mighty Colca Canyon
Week 7 La Paz and the Cordillera Real Trekking through the mountains, including a possible glacial summit attempt in the Condoriri range. Mountain biking to the cloud forest town of Coroico
Week 8 Rurrenabaque and the Bolivian Amazon Visiting Quest's wild animal sanctuary project in Jacj Cuisi, motorised dugout canoe expedition through the pampas.
Week 9 Lake Titicaca and Cuzco Kayaking on the highest navigable lake in the world, white water rafting down the Urubamba river, followed by the iconic trek to Machu Picchu
Dates and Costs

 

Team Name Start date End Date Quest Overseas Payment Quest4Change Contribution
VM Gap 2017 4th Jan 2017 9th March 2017 £2,890 £840
VM Gap 2018 3rd Jan 2018 8th March 2018 £2,890 £840

 

The dates below are the dates each expedition begins and ends in country. Do bear in mind you may need to begin your travels from home the day before the start date (and may arrive home the day after the end). We will give support and advice on recommended flights once your place is confirmed on the team.

What’s included

All food and accommodation
Activities throughout (and any specific technical equipment needed)
Transport in a combination of public and private transport

Project Contribution

You will see that there are two payments to make, one to Quest Overseas and one to our charity, Quest4Change. The payment to Quest Overseas covers all your costs on the ground – meals, accommodation, activities etc. The project contribution is kept separate to your trip payment because every penny of this goes directly to supporting the project you will be working on. This not only ensures we have the materials needed to get the work done, but also makes sure that the project can continue after the team moves on. For more information on this, please check our Costs Explained page.

Not included

International flights
Personal travel insurance
Personal equipment
Personal expenses (nights out, souvenirs, internet, laundry etc.)

Early Application Discount

For all places confirmed on a team 12 months before departure, we will give a 15% discount on your payment to Quest Overseas. Places confirmed 6 months before departure receive a 10% discount. Contact the office for more details.

Who is this trip for?

Team members who join our gap year teams are typically recent school leavers on a break before university, or taking a break during their higher education. We do accept applications from all ages, however the typical age is between 17-23. Applicants come from across the world.

On the project you will be working with children between 5-13 years old on the whole, so the more experience you have had working with this age group the better. We're always looking for new ideas of activities and things to do, so come armed with as many tricks up your sleeve as you can.

It is also important to have at least some grounding in Spanish to take part in this project. Whilst we have bilingual project staff to support you in country, you will be working with the kids on a daily basis and both you and they will get a lot more from the experience with a bit of language training.

The expedition route is a combination of trekking and time in cities. Whilst you don't need extensive wilderness skills to take part in these treks (again, our expedition staff are there to support you), it is important that team members are in good physical shape.