We must live together in wholeness, as
conduits for all the beauty, right actions,
and vibrant energies that the universe
provides. - don Eduardo Colderón
You can make an enormous difference
in so many ways – volunteer, donate, or
become an ARI ambassador.
Working with ARI
ARI’s programs are centered at our facility in the village of Maras, in the beautiful Sacred Valley near the historic city of Cusco.
Working with ARI is easy, exciting, and enriching in many ways. You can work with us through your monetary donations, or if you like to roll up your shirtsleeves and take action, you can work with us by volunteering your time and talents. Please join us in the ARI community!
In the Quecha language the word for collective, abundance-producing relationships is minka. In appreciation for the gift of Andean and Amazonian wisdom of abundant life and well-being, we have created numerous support programs for the Andean village of Maras, and others nearby, to help nourish and carry forward the priceless knowledge of these cultures. We are working to extend and empower some of these programs through a Peruvian National Accreditation process, making them more valuable to the program participants and their communities. ARI is also active in Amazonian regions, where we are working to preserve the land and the indigenous people’s knowledge of the jungle’s life-supporting pharmacopeia.
Whether you help us fund our programs or volunteer your time and talents, you can be assured that you not only make a valuable difference in the Peruvian cultures, but you’ll also enrich yourself with new experiences and new life-long friends.
Community and Cultural Development in Maras and the Sacred Valley
ARI is working with the women of Maras to preserve local crafts and traditional textile patterns. This includes teaching the women updated weaving skills and helping to preserve their knowledge of making and using natural dyes and fibers. As they develop these skills, they learn a marketable trade they can use to support their families and simultaneously participate in the wider Andean commerce.
Your donation allows ARI to provide the looms, wool, and teachers so that the Maras women can create an inventory of weavings to sell in local markets. We help them learn to sell more effectively and confidently, ultimately empowering them to care more richly for their families.
For the Andean people, maintaining a nurturant relationship with their animals and their land provides the driving force behind their ability to create collective abundance. To support this core principle of the Andean culture ARI is working with the women of Maras to cultivate and breed ducks. The practice of duck husbandry provides food for their families, as it incentivizes the contribution of duck offspring to women of neighboring villages. By working with their cultural wisdom – the power of minka – we’re seeing an expansion of abundance and economic independence, as more women learn to support themselves and their families and teach others how to do the same.
Your donation is vital to our on-going work in helping these communities regain economic vitality, and we can extend this program to include goats and other animals valuable to their way of life.
Volunteers are invited to join us in the hands-on work of these exciting programs. You’ll have an opportunity to live and work directly with the indigenous community members as you enrich their lives, and yours, forever.
The wisdom of the Andean and Amazonian cultures is uniquely attuned to the creation of continuous streams of abundance and the stewardship of cultural unity, even in the face of global change and the need for us to evolve our ways of life. This is wisdom we desperately need in the world today, and recognizing this, the masters of the Andean and Amazonian cultures have been transmitting their knowledge to us over the last few decades, to help us step into our role as stewards of global well-being in the 21st century and beyond.
Traditionally, this kind of wisdom has been kept alive in cultural memory, yet in today’s world, with the pressures of life shattering the unity of indigenous communities, it’s vital that space and time be created for the proper recording and transmission of their invaluable knowledge.
To honor this need, ARI hosts monthly Medicine Heritage Gatherings at the ARI center in Maras. Here, time and space are provided for these masters to share their knowledge, and strengthen their medicine lineages. The cross pollination of skills, views, and legacies that occurs in these meetings not only empowers the living memory banks for their wisdom, it also insures that accurate, empowered knowledge can be passed on to new emerging shamans.
Participating shamans can also use this time and space to conduct Despacho Rituals for the healing and stewarding of the land’s fertility and the well-being of the people, both of which are dimensions of minka.
Your donation allows us to purchase video and audio equipment so we can create professional level videotape and sound recordings of the shamans as they discuss and share their wisdom. The video and audio records are invaluable in preserving these timeless indigenous teachings and rituals in their original, authentic forms, and in protecting these priceless traditions from being lost to the pressures of modernity. Your support also allows ARI to provide both transportation for the shamans to our Maras Center and all their ceremonial supplies.
Volunteers are needed to assist with the video and audio recording, as well as with cataloging these records of the Medicine Heritage Gatherings.
The geography of the Maras village has had limited access to water for many years, and many villagers have migrated to the Sacred Valley where the source of water is abundant. In Maras during the dry months from May through October there is water for only about a half hour each day, so detrimental to the livelihoods of the villagers. While ARI trucks in water from neighboring wells and rivers, this is extremely costly. Recently we have discovered a water source on our land in Maras, the plan for drilling a well is in place, and the work is beginning.
Your donation helps us complete the drilling of the well. It also helps us expand the water system for the local communities.
Children and Education in Maras, the Sacred Valley, and Beyond
The ARI Art Program at our Center in Maras has been growing exponentially over the last few years. Designed to give local children a space for creative expression and an arena for developing marketable artistic skills, the program also helps to strengthen their cultural pride and identity, essential ingredients in becoming successful adults in their communities and in the world. These children have a unique view of the world and of life – a view that is invaluable for our changing world – their vision needs your support.
Your donation helps us hire skilled art teachers, buy supplies, and expand our teaching facilities at the Maras Center.
Volunteers are welcome to serve as teachers and support staff. If you love art and children you’ll love this opportunity to volunteer in Maras.
English Language classes are offered at our Maras Center as well. English is recognized as a global language, and proficiency in English is required for the economic and social advancement that will keep the Andean cultures alive and thriving.
Your donation helps us to maintain our teaching spaces, purchase teaching materials, and pay for qualified teachers.
Volunteers are welcome to serve as teachers and support staff. Join us for a rewarding experience!
The SETPRO Program provides another level of educational assistance. High school entrance is very competitive in Peru, and not all children are accepted. An alternative to standard high school education is the establishment of certified educational programs that offer comprehensive training in a variety of professional skills. Called SETPRO, Peru’s Ministry of Education licenses these programs. ARI is working to hire teachers to develop select SETPRO-certified programs, such as computer skills training, and then offer them to students at our Center in Maras. This level of educational certification enhances the ARI Center’s capacity to serve as an educational hub and a dependable source of education for economic growth for the Andean people.
Your donation helps us first, meet the requirements for SETPRO certification, and second, hire the teachers who can deliver these certification programs in Maras.
The Christmas Gifting Program is a highlight of the holiday season for ARI and the children of the mountain villages around the Sacred Valley. Every Christmas, ARI volunteers drive to the less advantaged villages to gift clothing, school supplies, and a delicious Christmas treat of hot chocolate and traditional Christmas bread to their school children. ARI also monitors the success of our gifting program, providing a questionnaire to school leaders asking them to gauge what impacts such gifts may have on students’ motivation to attend school and their motivation to learn. Our local coordinator in Cusco, Ita Choque, oversees the purchase of student gifts, school supplies, and clothing for the program. Gifts are donated, or where possible purchased locally, honoring our commitment to support local merchants.
Your donation buys new jackets, supplies, and food for these deserving children. It also supports the hiring of the bus and driver who takes us to the village schools on the gifting day.
Volunteers are encouraged to help with this highly rewarding program. Join us in December as we package and deliver these much-needed gifts to the beautiful children of the Andes.
This program, directed by Board Member Carol Parker, is open only to students enrolled at Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM. The program allows students to come to Maras to help with ARI-sponsored projects. To date, 6 Southwestern Southwestern students have participated, in particular in the Art Program and English Language Classes. The Intern Program offers students a wonderful opportunity to improve their Spanish language skills as they share their own knowledge and expertise with the people of Maras and neighboring villages in the Sacred Valley.
ARI in the Amazon
This vast life-supporting bioregion of the Earth requires preservation. The potential of the treasures of the forest and plants as well as indigenous peoples’ wisdom is immeasurable and must not be lost. For the present day health of our planet as well as the future of our children’s children, we need to act now. Through a generous donation ARI is actively seeking land to purchase and preserve – as a priceless supplement to indigenous knowledge of the Amazon pharmacopeia.
Your donation helps us purchase this land and develop preservation programs that will benefit the local population as well as the world.