Peru's Challenge

Peru's Challenge

Peru's Challenge is a small grassroots non-governmental organisation dedicated to relieving poverty by developing sustainable schools and communities in impoverished mountain villages surrounding Cusco, Peru. This is achieved by working in long-term partnerships with local communities to empower the poorest and most vulnerable rural populations. Through education, health, infrastructure and small business projects, we are able to alleviate poverty and increase opportunities for the children and their community at large.

Find out more information about Peru's Challenge on the Peru's Challenge website.

Activity Information

Country and Location: Cusco, Peru

Timing: Winter Vacation (June - July)

Duration: 4 weeks

General number of students: 8 - 14

Cultural highlights: Peru's Challenge is located in Cusco (sometimes spelled "Cuszco"), a city in the Peruvian Andes and was once the capital of the Inca Empire. One of the most popular destinations in Peru, there is plenty to see and do whilst in this region and you will have your weekends free to explore Machupicchu, Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Cuzco Inca Ruins to name a few.

Available units

*Please note that the unit availability, timing and activities are always subject to change.

PACE unitUnit timingOverseas activity timingPrevious activity examples
PACE360Winter Vacation (same time as activity)Winter VacationAssisting with business and product development, marketing, packaging and promotion and sales of Inca Designs product and Santa Maria Lodge.
ECHP424Session 2 (after activity)Winter VacationPACE students will be working to develop Scope and Sequence documents, bench-marking tools and lesson plans for the English, Art or Physical Education components of Peru’s curriculum.
HLTH300Session 2 (after activity)Winter VacationEducating community children on good health practices and gather health statistics
INTS305Session 2 (after activity)Winter VacationDeveloping promotional and marketing content that supports the work of Peru's Challenge
MAS350Session 2 (after activity)Winter VacationAssisting with business and product development, marketing, packaging and promotion and sales of Qosqo Designs product and Santa Maria Lodge.

Costs and funding options

Activity Cost

Each activity incurs an Activity Cost to cover in-country costs. The Activity Cost is dependant on the location, work requirements, timeframe and duration of your activity. Additional costs, not included in your activity cost, are paid for directly by you. Financial support is available through grant funding.

Covered in Activity Costs
  • Accomodation
  • Pre-departure training
  • In-country orientation
  • Airport transfers
  • travel insurance for activity duration
  • Field trips
Not included in activity costs
  • International airfares
  • Visa (where applicable)
  • National Police Checks
  • Unit tuition
  • Vaccinations (where applicable)
  • New/renewed passport (where applicable)
  • Personal travel insurance and all related expenses for personal travel and leisure activities
  • Incidental living and travel costs (e.g laundry, transport, souvenirs)

Funding options

There are a range of funding options available to assist you with the associated costs of a PACE International activity. For more information on eligibility and application requirements see the Funding tab on the PACE International website.

Meet our alumni

Belinda Leabeter, Peru's Challenge, Winter Vacation 2018

What do you study and where did you go on your PACE International activity?

I am studying Arts Law with a double major under my arts degree in social justice and criminology. This PACE subject was undertaken under my criminology major and it was PACE360. I went to Perus challenge which is found in Cuzco, Peru. An amazing organisation run by some amazing people in one of the nicest places I've ever been to.

What was your role or project at your host organisation?

My host organisation was working in a community called quillihuata. They were working in a school to help the younger generations but also working in the community to help all members work together, to thrive and get better opportunities that they didn't have access to because of their distance from Cuzco.

Part of my role was working with other students on construction for the school. We were building a toilet block and repainting the whole school so it would be ready for its next inspection and could then take on another hundred kids. That would mean less kids walking 2-3 hours to school everyday. I mostly painted and did some gardening but did enjoy getting my hands dirty on the harder stuff like making concrete every now and again.

The other part of my role was working with a group of women in the community called the Inca Mamas. My host organisation got this group of women together to talk about community issues, get health advice for themselves and their children and to work together to end domestic violence in the community. Through this initiative they started their own business to knit jumpers, baby clothes, cardigans, hats and scarves from alpaca fur. They receive ethical payment from their work which they use to help further fund their business and take exciting trips together. They make some amazing products that I was fortunate enough to buy from. My role with them was working with two other girls to help build up their business. This included product picking, pricing and creation of a website for them. These women were some of the most inspiring, powerful women I had ever met. Everyday they would walk to their warehouse, sometimes with their young children, sit together, laugh, knit and just do and enjoy what they love. They are so passionate about the work they create and so creative. Many of the designs they come up with are just off the top of their heads and their talent was truly impressive. It was an honour to work with them and help them further their ethical business.

What attracted you to the PACE International program?

I was attracted to PACE because of previous experiences I had at uni. I had previously been on an eight month exchange in England where I had met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences. Once returning, I was in a bit of a post travel depression and I received an email from the PACE team that addressed exactly that. It told me that just because I'd done exchange didn't mean my overseas study had to end. Of course I was interested straight away.

The only hesitancy I had was due to what I had heard and knew about volunteer tourism. Whilst I wanted to be able to go over and do work that helped the global community, and see amazing places whilst I was at it, I didn't want to fall into the white privilege trap of volunteering simply for my own benefit. Luckily for me, PACE squashed all those fears and I learnt about how the uni and PACE team works to teach you about cultural awareness, privilege and having an open mind before you go. Reading stories from past PACE International students also helped me understand that what you do during your time overseas is the complete opposite of volunteer tourism. The organisations are so well sought and have amazing reputations you cant deny the work they do is inspiring and empowering.From that moment I knew it would be a rewarding and beneficial experience and so I applied.

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of applying for a PACE International activity?

Anyone considering PACE, I would say, go ahead and do it. Don't have any doubts, don't hold yourself back, go all in. You will have an amazing experience and it is 110% worth every minute and every penny. The uni helps you out financial wise so much as well, not to mention you can take a travel loan on HECS. How lucky are we that money doesn't have to be an issue with such a great experience?!

I obviously had such a rewarding experience in Peru, with such a big group of students going there, so I would recommend Peru from the get go. I knew I always wanted to go to Peru and was fortunate enough to get placed there and have such a memorable time. In saying that though, since being back I've met people who went to other places on their PACE experience and had just as an amazing time as I did. No matter where you end up, you will still be able to learn so much and do so much. Not only will you help these communities, but these communities will help you.

What was the best part of your PACE International experience?

PACE is awesome because it opens you up to such an amazing, new and out of your comfort zone experience you may not have undertaken otherwise. Its an opportunity that really encourages growth and understanding and I think it didn't just open my eyes to the rest of the world, but put my own life, my own problems and own experiences into perspective.

My experience was especially awesome because of the people I met, not just the amazing friends I made with the other students who went on the same adventure as me, but Jane and Selby who run Peru's Challenge and all the locals I met who worked with us and took care of us throughout the whole adventure. We became a family and learnt so much through each other, lessons I'll never forget and memories I'll cherish forever.

The other amazing part was the travel we got to do as a huge group as well. Not only do you get to do some amazing, beneficial work in the communities, but you get to see the rest of the country and what it has to offer with local tour guides who provide a unique and educational adventure. Sleeping under the stars and dancing with a local couple on a floating island in the middle of Lake Titicaca with my new friends was a major highlight.

Before I apply

  1. Receive academic advice to see how a PACE International activity will fit into your degree
  2. Check you meet the eligibility requirements
  3. View the PACE International information session online or visit one of our drop-in sessions
  4. Refer to the PACE International essential resources for application tips, example application form and information on ethical volunteering

Contact Us

Phone: +61 2 9850 4473
Instagram: @mqpace

Make an appointment or attend a drop-in session: If you would like to speak to a PACE International staff member, please email us at

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