Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2016 Matching Campaign Launch

Manos Unidas Announces Campaign to Expand
Vocational Training for Special Needs Youth in Peru

(June 27, 2016, Cusco, Peru) Manos Unidas Peru, the first school dedicated to special needs students in Cusco, Peru, has launched a Crowdrise campaign to raise $22,000 by August 1 to expand Phawarispa, the first vocational training program in the region.

“I’m so proud to finally see our students working in the community!” said M.U. co-founder and executive director Celeste Marion

“This is not only a life-changing achievement for our students, it’s a huge breakthrough for Cusco, where barely 4% of special needs kids go to school, and who never had any training or pathway for employment before.”

The funds will be used to:

- Expand and modernize Cafe Daria, the first cafe run by special-needs youth
- Build a greenhouse to grow local organic food
- Place more students in internships through partnerships with hotels and cafes
- Bring more tourists to the cafe through partnerships with travel agencies
- Hire a full-time program director; Increase staff salaries

The Children of Peru Foundation will match funds up to $10,000.

ARE FUNDS TAX DEDUCTIBLE VIA CROWDRISE? To read more and back the campaign, visit the Crowdrise page

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Student Run Cafe Opens in Cusco

We are the first and only cafe run by students with disabilities in the entire region of Cusco . . . and maybe even Peru!  

Our youth at Phawarispa are preparing cakes, sandwiches, juices and  cafes, serving the public, cleaning tables, washing dishes and managing money. Of course our teachers are supporting this learning process, but our goal is for the cafe to be 100% run by students. We have begun to open the cafe (our very own dining room) every Friday from 10am-1pm and inviting friends and family. Our big inauguration to the public will be in June. Several grants have gone out this year to better implement the cafe, make proper uniforms for the students and better serve the community. We will keep you posted on our progress!

MU Welcomes Local Psychology Interns

Areli and Fatima leading an awareness workshop for 2nd graders in Los Nogales
This year we have the privilege of receiving four psychology students from the Universidad Andina who will be completing a six month internship with us. The students are actively participating with the autism program, community workshops in the inclusion program and the parent school. Six other psychology students from Universidad Alas Peruanas are also doing a semester of practicum hours with MU, dedicated to teaching sex education classes for our youth and parent workshops. One of our goals in the community is to educate local university students for working with the special needs population and we are thrilled to have so many enthusiastic young people on site.

New Partnership with Cusco Hotel

Jolanda, Ninos Hotel Owner, with her daughter (L), Marly and Michael (R)

We congratulate Ninos Hotel in Cusco for being the first hotel to open its doors to Manos Unidas youth for practicum placement. Starting in April, two MU youth have begun to work 4 hours a week in the hotel applying the skills they are learning in Phawarispa in real life environments. Marly, 18, is working in the hotel cafe and Michael, 19, is working as the doorman. Finally we have created this bridge into our community. We thank Jolanda Van den Berg, also a mother of a teenager with Autism, for opening the doors of her hotel to us and believing in the potential of youth with special needs.

CHOP Matching Campaign to Launch June 13

The Children of Peru Foundation has been a loyal and faithful supporter of Manos Unidas since 2011. They helped launch and finance our young adult program in 2014 and will continue to support MU this year with a $10,000 grant. We will be launching our matching campaign June 13 with this year's goal  to DOUBLE THE GRANT. Our online campaign to raise $20k will continue to fund our young adult program with added projects such as the Student Run Cafe and Greenhouse Garden. Stay tuned for the big kickoff!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bungie Foundation Supports Autism Diploma for MU

The Bungie Foundation of Bellevue, WA has a heart for Autism. This year the foundation has granted its first award to improve the quality of education for children with autism outside of the United States - and it has gone to Manos Unidas!

Mapy Chavez and MU team, first workshop series

The foundation will be exclusively supporting our Autism Education Program and our new partnership with Alcanzando (Lima, Peru). Through this grant, Manos Unidas teachers have initiated a 2 year intensive course to receive an Autism Education Diploma in Applied Behavior Analysis directed by Dr. Mapy Chavez (Lima/New York/Spain).

Dr. Chavez Askins has a doctorate degree from Columbia University (New York) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Education of Children on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Chavez has more than 20 years of experience working with autism, more than 30 publications and has led hundreds of presentations and conferences in the United States, Europe and Latin America on appropriate and effective intervention strategies for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

14 Manos Unidas staff members and 18 MU students on the autism spectrum will be participating in this two year intensive course. Upon completion of the program, Manos Unidas will be the only organization, along with Alcanzando, to have ABA trained teachers in the entire country of Peru!


Dorthea Hauss Ross Foundation Sponsors Inclusive Education Project

The Dorthea Hauss Ross Foundation of New York has granted Manos Unidas a significant award supporting our Inclusive Education Project for 2016. This award is supporting five MU teachers working in regular education schools plus our activities to generate more awareness and knowledge within the education community in Cusco.

MU Director Mercedes and Los Nogales Director Uriel, cut the ribbon to inagurate our classroom

Three new pieces have been added to our inclusion project this year:
1) Partial inclusion within a local highschool for four MU teens

2) A partial inclusion classroom MU has built on state school property for five first grade students

3) Partial withdrawl of MU teachers within the classrooms in order to delegate more responsibility to the classroom teacher (shared responsibility)

Other components of the grant are highly focused on community collaboration and building awareness. They include:

1) Formal agreements with local unversities to receive practicum students in elementary education for the inclusion program

2) Formal agreement with the Ministry of Education for recognition of our Inclusion Program

3) Formal training content on Best Strategies for Inclusive Education that will be taught in a 3 part course to all project participants and be presented to the Ministry of Education as formal curriculum

The Manos Unidas Inclusive Education Program was launched in 2013 with 3 students and partially supported by the Alma Children's Education Foundation. We are proud to announce that 4 years later we have 25 students included into five regular education schools and the program is now fully funded.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Volunteer in Cusco, Peru this Year!

Now Accepting Applications for 2016 

       LIVE in Cusco                  LEARN from a culture                     TEACH the community

Join us for an Experience of a Lifetime


Be a part of groundbreaking work for children and young adults with Different Abilities
Questions? Feel free to ask:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Year End Campaign

Since 2009, Manos Unidas has Educated nearly 200 children, Empowered 1,080 family members, and Trained 50 teachers in Cusco, Peru. Thanks to YOU for making this happen!

This past year we helped 24 students with scholarships.

Today, we are launching our Year-End Campaign to raise $10,000 to pay for five more full scholarships for 2016.

We believe education should be available to ALL familiesnot just those who can pay.  So even though we helped 24 students this year, there are still almost 3,000 children with disabilities in Cusco not receiving an education.

Would you be willing to make a special year-end donation of $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to help us pay for five more scholarships?

We simply can’t do it without you, Your support will make a real, lasting impact.

Please, click here to make your tax-deductible donation now.

Thank you for your continued support and friendship.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Manos Unidas has released its newest video done by Alex Estrada, a Cusco videographer. Our accomplishments over the last seven years are impressive. Enjoy!