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Peru Project



The Rainbow Centre was opened in 2002 as the only school dedicated to special needs, abused and abandoned children in Urubamba, a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Local donations from our clients have played a major role in supporting the centre’s work, who now support over 200 children, young people and their families. Kiya Survivors aims to provide a new beginning for Peruvian children and gain independence through education, therapy, love and laughter.

LATEST UPDATEAfter ten years supporting this project with many of our clients visiting the school and some even returning for further volunteer work, we have raised over £25,000 for Kiya Survivors. Some of this was spent on building a pizza oven, in which the children not only bake pizzas to sell to visitors, but also ceramics which they can sell in their shop.   Although we no longer offer the option to visit the school on our tours, you can still support the Rainbow Centre and to arrange your own visit with them if you have a spare day in Cuzco.
Posted 19/12/12


Rainbow Centre, Kiya Survivors, PeruSet up by Suzy Butler, the Rainbow Centre School caters for students aged between 4 and 25 from communities in and around the valley who would otherwise have no access to specialist education, therapy and medical care. As well as dance, drama, sport and music education, the centre offers students training in gardening, making t-shirts and ceramics, and bread and pizza making.

In addition to the fixed school site, the Rainbow Centre runs an outreach programme which sends therapists and counsellors to visit families in remote communities with special needs children. Without this service, these families would not receive any support in caring for their children, something which is extremely difficult in a harsh mountain environment where the majority of people live below the poverty line.

Would you like to know more?To sponsor one of the children at the Rainbow centre or see how you can get more involved in supporting their great work, please go to the Kiya Survivors website.

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2011 Update

Staff in the Exodus office recently raised over £360 for the Rainbow Centre in a tightly fought baking competition which saw our marketing and product teams creating a fantastic array of cakes, biscuits and other treats, with the proceeds going to our projects in Peru and Zambia.

In other news, Kiya Survivors recently celebrated a decade of helping local children and their families. Happy 10th birthday!

Click here for a full update from the Rainbow Centre.

2010 Update

Kiya Survivors have just launched an urgent appeal. Read more
Exodus has been supporting the UK-based charity Kiya Survivors since 2002. Set up in 2001, the Rainbow Centre provides schooling for children in Peru’s Sacred Valley. It provides a base for children with special needs, those who have suffered abuse or who were abandoned because of their disabilities. Since 2001 it has provided a safe haven helping many children to gain independence through education and therapy. However, it now faces a serious threat of closure due to a lack of funds. Can you help by sponsoring a child?

Kiya Survivors have just launched an urgent appeal, known as ‘Mil Padrinos’ (a thousand godparents) - the aim of which is to find sponsors willing to pledge £8 a month to secure the long term future of the Rainbow Centre.

Short term, Exodus have pledged an immediate payment of £5,000, which will enable the Centre to stay open for the next two months. However, what they really need is a steady and reliable income, which would be provided by regular payments from sponsorship of the children.

To sponsor one of the children at the Rainbow centre please go to the Kiya Survivors website.

2009 Update

December 2009
2009 saw us raising over £3,000.00 for Kiya Survivors, £1,265.00 going towards their Outreach Programme, and the remainder being used towards funding the Rainbow Shop.

109 clients visited the children at the Rainbow Centre during the year, and donated a total of £1,200.00 on their visits. The remainder of monies was raised via our UK Charity Partners, Friends of Conservation and other fundraising activities, such as a sponsored bike ride to Paris undertaken by one of our staff members!

In October 2009, our UK Agency Manager, Dan Jackson, visited the Rainbow Centre, along with a group of UK agents. Dan's report is featured below.

Early 2010 saw the Sacred Valley experience devastating floods, with 3 months worth of rain falling in five days. Fortunately, the Rainbow Centre was spared any serious damage - please click here to view their News page

Dan Jackson, Exodus' Agents Manager recently visited Peru with a group, he explains more about the The Rainbow Centre

The Rainbow Centre was founded by a British woman, Suzy Butler, and opened in early 2002. Located in the small town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas it was first visited by Exodus Overland groups and soon became a regular stopping off point on our Overland itineraries.

In conjunction with our local partners in Peru, these visits began to expand to include the majority of our Peruvian trips, and local donations from our clients have played a major role in supporting the centre’s work. I first visited the centre in September 2006 with Exodus clients who were on our two week Inca Trail and Amazon trip, so I was very keen to find out how it had developed and hopefully improved on my most recent visit, this time with a group of UK travel agents last October.

As with my visit four years ago, the travel agents were genuinely interested in seeing what went on at the centre and to meet the superb staff and to interact with the children. For the children, typically aged between 5 and 20 and many of whom have special needs, alcoholic parents who abuse them or simply no home to go to, the chance to mingle with Exodus groups is a real delight. Since my last visit the centre has made huge improvements, mainly possible due to the generosity of hundreds of Exodus clients who pass through on their various Peruvian itineraries.

The centre now offers children training in gardening, making t-shirts and ceramics as well as bread and pizza making. We observed one of the kids receive physiotherapy on a problem with his feet which in time will enable him to walk properly and spent over an hour in the classroom with the children during one of their creative lessons.

The great thing about the visit is we didn’t just drop in for 10 minutes, which has no benefit to anybody really. We spent a good 4 hours really getting involved and speaking to the teachers, staying for lunch which was prepared and served by the kids and then helping them in their lessons.

My overriding memory is of the joy and happiness etched on the children and travel agents’ faces as we spent time together and how impressed we all were with the passion and commitment of the staff to improving these children’s lives. Without the Rainbow Centre to go to many of the kids really would have little, if any, quality of life at all and several would just have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

That’s why our donations matter so much and really do make a world of difference to the lives of these children – I hope you get the opportunity to see for yourself what a wonderful project the Rainbow Centre is and the smiles and laughter your visit would bring to the children there.

October 2009 - We recently had a visit from Suzy Butler, the director of Kiya Survivors, to our offices in Balham. Suzy gave a very sobering presentation at our weekly staff meeting, which really highlighted the need for charities such as hers in Peru, where children with special needs are still seen by many communities as Devil’s children, or a curse from God.

Whilst her presentation did not make for easy listening (or watching), it is vital that we continue to support the fantastic work that Suzy and her colleagues do in Peru for neglected and abused children. It was certainly heart warming to see the difference that can be made to a child’s life. If you would like to see Suzy’s presentation please click on the link but please be aware the video does contain some distressing scenes.

We are also very proud of one of our staff members, Anna Faulder, who works in our Marketing Department. Anna cycled from London to Paris in September to raise funds for Kiya Survivors, and to date has raised a total of £280.00. Well done Anna!

Watch the video online from the Kiya Survivors

Special thanks from the Rainbow Center
Kiya Survivors would like to give big thanks to all the staff at Exodus for your support. We continue to work hard to ensure the ongoing success of our projects and look forward to sharing their progress with you.

Recent message from the Rainbow Centre
Kiya Survivors does a lot of excellent work in the Sacred Valley but still relies on donations to fund its efforts; it does not get any funding from within Peru. For the last couple of years, Exodus has been supporting various projects at the Rainbow Centre and since early last year Exodus clients have been visiting the centre and seeing firsthand the good work that is taking place.

Kiya Survivors say thanks to Exodus and their clients for the oven they recently purchased. View the document to see their successful baking of pizzas!

Kiya Survivors Information leaflet available to download in PDF format

The school year started out well at the Rainbow Centre. Work carried on as normal and we ran our most successful summer school programme to date. Around eighty children attended to take part in our cooking, drama, sport and dance workshops. Summer school finished on a high, with a dance and drama extravaganza. However, our van was out of service for a while, which affected the number of students attending classes at the Rainbow Centre. However, our outreach team continued to work in the Chinchero area and have established regular contact with over twenty young people and their families. We have been providing basic physiotherapy, social work services, food, vitamins, clothes and much more to these young people, all of whom are living in extreme poverty. The team has also secured two rooms from the local council, which are now being renovated by our team of volunteers. We hope to be open to the public by the end of the month.

Severe water supply shortages earlier this year have also been a big problem. The Rainbow Centre was getting between one and two hours of running water a day and staff were faced with the daily task of storing water and rationing it for the many tasks for which it is so essential - cooking, cleaning, showering, washing clothes, watering the animals and plants.

Thanks to our Exodus supporters, our outreach van is now back on the road after some serious repairs. We have also been able to install a new water tank, which has greatly increased the amount of running water we have every day. We have also tiled the children's bathrooms, repaired faulty electrics and retiled the roofs where necessary.

For Kiya Survivors Outreach is a fundamental part of our work, it’s a new project that was introduced last year and in a short amount of time has enabled them to provide support to many more families.

The Rainbow Centre van goes out in the mornings and collects children that otherwise would not be able to attend school, in the afternoons it takes these children back home again.

The outreach van makes weekly visits to various communities further up into the mountains taking the school’s social worker, psychologist, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and coordinator to look for new children that need access to the school’s services. Since these visits started the number of children now attending the school daily has significantly increased.

The outreach van also means that Iris, the Rainbow Centre’s social worker is able to carry out home visits to assess the conditions that our children are living in and see what extra support families may need.

Many students have now been re-integrated into mainstream education which is a great achievement, however often these students need to continue with their therapy but may live far away or are unable to attend the centre. The van takes Lucho, the school’s physiotherapist and speech and language therapist to these children’s homes so that they can continue with their vital treatment.

The outreach van is a great way to take campaigns to communities, such as our Early Stimulation campaign in which we work with local hospitals on immunisation days, this way we are able to work with lots more mothers and babies.

The Rainbow Centre could really benefit from a second outreach van and more staff. With a new van and an extra social worker and physiotherapist we could double the number of visits made to far off communities and the number of families we reach. Costs of petrol are high in Peru and so our work is sometimes limited.

2008 Update

Kiya Survivors
Peru Rainbow Centre

Kiya started when I was just 21 years old. It was the effect of seeing so many deprived children in Peru living in a world of misunderstanding and fear, a world of no education or support and as a privileged foreigner, I realised I could and would make a difference.

The Rainbow Centre, Kiya Survivor’s first centre for children with special needs, abused and abandoned children, was born just 3 months after arriving in Urubamba, Cusco. It was the first of it’s kind in the area and much needed. It became so much more than I first believed it could be, it became the hub of community life and living. A centre created for children with special needs, for their parents, but also for their village.

Education, or the lack of, was clearly an issue and soon I realised that this was what Kiya Survivors could do - provide education, support and therapy but most importantly, supply love to those who craved it and needed it the most. To those who were currently without support and desperate for it. To those who weren’t receiving a slice of the meagre 0.81% of the Peruvian educational budget put aside for special needs education and facilities in their village. To those who had given up on understanding who they were or who their children were.

These were the people Kiya Survivors aimed to help and currently do so to over 200 children and their families who now attend the 4 centres Kiya Survivors has built over the years. All the children have special needs, live in poverty and many have also been abused.

It’s a hard world and one I am glad to be out of. Having spent 8 years living and working in Peru, I am grateful and relieved to say I have the opportunity to bring my son back to the UK.

Peru is full of life and love but the insecurity and precarious nature of her society, the unfairness of the system and extreme poverty, in comparison to ours, makes me feel both sad and grateful. Mainly because Peru has so much more to offer than our funny grey country and yet, we are so much richer - in many ways at least.

Now, after 8 months of fund raising for the building of the new children’s home, Mama Cocha, I will return to Peru with my 2 year old soldier, and we will again become a part of the confusing and beautiful battle for equality and understanding for those who are still seen as a curse from God, or worse, Devils children, and take a step towards change. Together with the 30 Peruvian staff now employed by Kiya we will march forward and give 16 plus children, currently living in dire situations, a chance for a more desirable and positive future where there is hope for an independent and happy life.

Send us a wish and wish us luck as we depart again on an unknown journey into a magical part of the world that deserves so much more attention and understanding.

I hope that my story ends with a smile and that the 16 kids currently being abused and neglected will soon find themselves in the arms of a Kiya Survivors home, Mama Cocha, and that you and Peru will support us in our mission to spread understanding that those born to be different are only different because we choose them to be.

To help us continue the fight, please sponsor a child today, your support is vital!

Give a little, change a lot!

Suzy Butler.

Founder/MD Kiya Survivors

For more information on how to help and donate contact:

[email protected]

Tel: 01273 721092

2007 Update

2007 update
By Ian Picken
Overland Operations Manager

My wife and I have just returned from our second visit; a trip partly sponsored by Exodus that involved 18 girls from Prior’s Field School in Godalming, Surrey, travelling to Peru and spending 5 days in Urubamba helping at the centre. For many of those on the trip it was their first visit to a developing country and for everyone it was the first time working with special needs children. However, having collectively fundraised £20,000 over and above their travel costs, they were certainly committed to the cause.

After a couple of delays getting from Cuzco to Urubamba due to strikes and road blockades we arrived at the Rainbow Centre at 8am, before the school had opened. My first impression was of how the centre has developed in the last 5 years: two more classrooms, a shop where the children sell the handicrafts they make themselves, a toilet block and therapy rooms amongst others. Additionally there were 2 more classrooms without floors or plastered walls and this is what we had come to finish.

All the 60 children that attend the centre are there for a reason: whether it is because they have suffered (and in some cases are still suffering) abuse, have learning difficulties, Downs Syndrome or, as with a family of seven children there at the moment, have lost both their father and then their mother (in this case, both in the last year). There is no support for children under any of these circumstances in Peru; seen as a curse from God, special needs children are often locked away, hidden from society and ignored at best.

But we were greeted with the same gusto, joie de vivre and affection when the children started to arrive on our first morning there as I remember from all those years ago. It is testament to those who set up and to those who run the Rainbow Centre that the children are obviously so happy here and are benefiting from the care they receive. Some of the children have to walk several hours each way to attend the school. That they are so positive and happy made us think about the reality of the complaints we all have about our own lives.

The Prior’s Field girls made friends straight away and bonds were formed quickly. However, the mornings were for work and everyone got stuck in to mixing and carrying cement, sifting sand, digging ditches and painting walls, all of which, at 2800m above sea level is breathtaking to say the least!

By the end of our time at the centre, with floors laid and walls painted there was the satisfaction of a job well done but a sadness to be leaving this special place and these special children. We returned to England knowing that whilst we have had a small but positive effect in Peru, there is still a lot that can be done. In fact some of the girls are already planning to return as a volunteer during their gap years and they are looking at other ways they can help from the UK.

2006 Update

2006 update
By Francesco Guerrieri
New Media Marketing Executive

Since opening, the Rainbow Centre has provided over 200 children with basic education, theatre, art, skills workshops, speech therapy, physiotherapy, behavioural therapy, music therapy, medical attention, food and the love they deserve. Above all, the Rainbow Centre gives children their dignity back, in a country that believes children with special needs are cursed by God.

This year Gervasio, a shy 12-year old kid suffering from Down’s Syndrome will participate at the National Special Olympics in Lima. A huge achievement and a real demonstration of what a little love and belief in someone can achieve!

To fly to Lima and participate in the Olympics, Gervasio requires a helper from the Rainbow Centre to with him, and Exodus thought it would a nice touch to send his parents along too. To help raise funds to finance the travel expenses (over GBP500), Exodus organised a Summer Party for its entire staff near its premises in south London.

With almost 80% of the company staff turning up, the Summer Party turned out to be a huge success. Luckily, the weather was on our side, allowing us to play some seriously good baseball between beers. At the end of the day we had raised a fantastic £754, all of which was donated to the Rainbow Centre and Gervasio.

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