UQ students travelling to Peru as part of the UQ Centenary International Volunteer Project
UQ students travelling to Peru as part of the UQ Centenary International Volunteer Project
1 June 2010

Seven UQ students will spend three weeks encouraging learning and being role models to local children when they travel to Villa El Salvador, Peru, in July this year.

The UQ Centenary International Volunteer Project, organised by UQ’s Business, Economics, Law and Tourism Employment Services team will give the students an opportunity to engage in the broader international community.

The project is a new initiative of the Employment Services team created to show the positive effect a volunteer experience can have on students’ future careers.

The seven participants are fundraising for the final $16,000 needed for them to make the trip.

As the third-largest country in South America, in recent years, Peru has benefited from major rise in tourism. However, more than half of the nation’s people still live below the poverty line and almost a quarter live in extreme poverty.

“Our assignments will be working with members of the community, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities,” Carly Barrett, of Employment Services said.

The community of Villa El Salvador, in the Lima Province, was founded in 1971 by a group of 200 families who left their inner-city shantytowns to start a new city. It has since been identified as a “self-managed” city and now has close to 380,000 people. In 1986, the city was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the power of community.

The volunteers say they hope to continue this mission by being role models to local children and encourage educational success.

“This community has a lot of potential. The founders of the community developed plans for expansion and set aside land for agriculture, industry, schools, clinics and parks but some of the spaces remain untouched,” Ms Barrett said.

While in Villa El Salvador the students also hope to assist with sustainable projects within the local community.

“We hope to support the continued development of the community of Villa El Salvador, while offering a new perspective of the world and immersing ourselves in Peru’s rich culture,” Ms Barrett said.

The seven students making the trip are studying programs covering a range of disciplines including business, law and economics and so far have raised $34,000 of their $50,000 goal.

The last fundraising event before the trip will be the Pre-SWOTVAC Bowls Day, to be held at the Toowong Bowls Club from 2pm on Sunday, June 6.

In conjunction with the US-based volunteer organisation, Cross-Cultural Solutions, the students will be placed in community-oriented projects throughout their stay.

For more information contact

Media: Allison Rock at UQ Office of Communications, (allison.rock@uqconnect.edu.au or 07 3365 2619) or Carly Barrett (cbarrett@bel.uq.edu.au)