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Project information

Villa Maria Children's Project - My New House

Project Mi Nueva Casa transforms the lives of vulnerable families living in Villa Maria (the largest shanty town in Peru) through access to adequate housing. We replace makeshift shacks with solid wooden houses; providing families with a home they can be proud of, one that fulfils their basic needs.


Charity information: Quest4Change

Quest4Change logo
  • Need


    As Villa Maria's population swells, space becomes increasingly limited. New migrants are forced to cut precarious platforms into the hillsides to erect their homes.

    These houses are typically made from scraps of iron, wood and plastic. They have limited or no access to electricity, running water and sanitation facilities.

    They also tend to be poorly insulated, draughty and retain moisture; leaving children and the elderly particularly susceptible to respiratory illnesses and infections.


    Since 2007 we have been tackling the urgent need for improved housing in the area through our house building initiative. To date we have built new houses for 80 vulnerable families.

    The houses are single-storey wooden constructions that can be put together in a matter of days. These solid homes are warm, stay dry and offer protection from the wind. They also cost relatively little to buy and make. Yet a new house will utterly transform a family's life, vastly improving their quality of life.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce ill health, cold and insecurity suffered by children and vulnerable families.


    » Construct safe, warm and secure new homes for families selected as part of the project.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...families living in basic new homes that are draught-free, rain-tight, and without danger of collapse or land slip.

    Aim 2

    To reduce family break-up, helping improve community cohesion.


    » Construct basic new homes,reducing the pressure on families living in the worst conditions.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...ensuring vulnerable families are supported with a home that is adequate for their needs, reducing the pressure on them, and improving the neighbourhood.

  • Impact


    The impact of child poverty spans generations, to the long-term detriment of the child, family, community & country. This project complements our other work in Villa Maria: our programme of recreational activities and our thriving Pre- & Primary School.

    All our work advocates bond-building within communities, helping prevent children getting involved in the prevalent drug & gang culture. In 16 years our success has been demonstrated through improved education, health and community cohesion.


    There are many potential beneficiaries, so we must ensure we target those most in need. Our Project Manager works closely with community groups to discuss needs in their area. The Q4C team then visits each proposed family to assess their need. The process is always the same and visiting many families means we know who is most in need. Low-cost houses are vital to minimise risks of perceived injustice by non-beneficiaries, backed up by the whole Q4C programme benefiting the community as a whole.


    All donors will receive a one-off project report no later than six months from the date of their donation. The report will focus on:
    * A financial summary
    * Details of the beneficiary families, including their previous living conditions and major problems faced
    * Before and after house photos

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £17,964

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £15,964 Construction materials All materials and transport needed to build and install 30 houses
      £1,000 Project management To coordinate all aspects of the project & select beneficiaries
      £1,000 Monitoring and evaluation Ensuring the project impact is measured and recorded.
  • Background


    The Peruvian shanty town of Villa Maria is one of the largest in the world. Overcrowding and a lack of formal infrastructure have resulted in extreme poverty, which acutely affects the development of children in the district.

    The children of Villa Maria live below the poverty line in shacks often with no running water, sanitation or electricity. Their parents work long hours and they are often left alone to wander the streets, frequently ending up in trouble with crime and drugs.


    Vulnerable families living in inadequate and/or unsafe housing in Villa Maria; many are single-parent families, those facing disability, or caring for an elderly relative.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Quest has been working in Villa Maria since 1997, providing funding and volunteers for the summer activity programme for children in the district; establishing and supporting a primary school, and since 2007 building homes for vulnerable families. Our long established relationship with the numerous communities in Villa Maria, and the continuous dialogue with full-time project manager Alejandro mean that we have the knowledge and experience to run the project successfully.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alejandro Menendez

    Employed full time as Project Manager, Alejandro has worked for us since 1999. His passion and skills have been vital in our success in Villa Maria.

    Jonathan Cassidy

    Jon is our Operations Manager, and has a long-standing personal connection to Villa Maria, having worked there for many years on the project.

    Emily Jesshope

    Emily is our part-time Fundraising & Communications Officer; she has in-depth and first-hand knowledge of the project and its aims.

Shack in Villa Maria

Shack in Villa Maria


Will build a new home for a vulnerable family.

When Quest began working in Villa Maria, 15 years ago, it was not safe for young people to walk from one neighbourhood to the next.

Jonathan Cassidy, Operations Manager