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Cusco is one of the most fascinating places in South America. However, despite the economic benefits generated by the international tourism industry in the area, including Machu Picchu, the majority of the local people live in either poverty or extreme poverty. The most severely afflicted are those in the indigenous communities, and none are more vulnerable than the children and youth.
While Peru in the last decade has made significant progress in expanding access to education and social programs, indigenous children and youth are often left behind as a result of discrimination, isolation, language barriers, low education levels and other factors associated with poor living conditions. Our Immersion programs in Cusco focus on disadvantaged youth groups. Inspiring disadvantaged children in an after-school program, supporting girls that have been sexually abused and teaching indigenous students in a resource-poor school are just some of the opportunities open to you in Cusco.
Land area: Half a million square miles (about twice the size of France)
Population (2010): 28 million
Official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Economy and Development
Currency: Nuevo sol
Total GDP (PPP) (2010): US$275 billion
GDP (PPP) per capita (2010): US$9,335
Top three export industries (2010): Copper, gold, zinc
Human development index (2010): .723 (ranked 63 out of 194 countries)
Population below the national poverty line (2009): 53%
Female adult literacy rate (2009): 85%
Male adult literacy rate (2009): 94%
Population not using improved water source (2009): 16%
Source: United Nations Development Program & World Bank