Project information

Quest School Villa Maria

Providing a good education at the Quest Primary School for 180 children in Villa Maria del Triunfo, the largest shanty town in Peru, where overcrowding and a lack of formal infrastructure have resulted in extreme poverty which acutely affects the development of children in the district.


Charity information


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  • Need


    The Peruvian shanty town of Villa Maria is one of the largest in the world, home to over 700,000 people. Here, overcrowding and a lack of formal infrastructure have resulted in extreme poverty which acutely affects the development of children in the district.

    Education is compulsory in Peru but in Villa Maria there are too few public schools to meet demand. This often leads to children seeing no other way forward than getting involved in with gangs and drugs.


    Working closely with the local community we established a small pre-primary school in 2003, offering either subsidised or free education to the poorest children. Over the years we have expanded to take in 180 children between 3 and 11 years.

    The Quest School supports our other work supporting families in Villa Maria, helping to interrupt the cycle of poverty in the area - on average, each extra year of schooling increases a person’s adult wages by nearly 10%.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve access to education for the poorest children in the community around the Quest School.


    » Providing full or partial sponsorship for as many children as possible to attend the school.

    More children attending the school receiving full sponsorship, covering school fees, books and uniform.

    Aim 2

    To continue to increase the quality of educational opportunities provided at the Quest School.


    » Continue to provide support for the school to improve its facilities such as supplying the library with books and computer, and renovation work.

    A school that is bright, well-equipped, and full of activities for the children both in the course of lessons and beyond.

    Aim 3

    Ensure the school is sustainable, its good effects onto new generations of children in Villa Maria.


    » Ensure the sponsorship and fee structure enables the school to retain a a base local income.
    » To continue to maintain good links with existing parents and reach out to more families, ensuring a strong local support base.

    The school continues to thrive and prosper in the community, with parents' continued support for the institution and their children's attendance there.

  • Impact


    The impact of child poverty spans generations, to the long-term detriment of the child, family, community & country. The Quest School complements Q4C's other work in Villa Maria: our school holiday recreation programme and our house-building work. All our work advocates bond-building within communities helping prevent children getting involved in the prevalent drug and 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 child to assess their need. By visiting many families we ensure that we know who is most in need.

    The subsidised places at the school also help to minimise risks of perceived injustice by non-beneficiaries, backed up by the whole Q4C programme benefiting the community as a whole.


    Key reports every 6 months will focus on: financial information; the number of children benefiting and details of their lives; successes or any failings.

    Updates are also available via our newsletter at:, our blog:, or on request by contacting us.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £22,300

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      Amount Heading Description
      £16,000 Child sponsorship Full sponsorship of 80 children - covering school fees, books & uniform.
      £1,800 Educational & sports materials Covering the cost of books, pens, blackboards etc. for a year
      £4,500 Additional running costs Covering staffing and bills for a year

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    La Vida £8,640 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Peruvian shanty town of Villa Maria is one of the largest in the world. Here, 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.


    Children from poor households, particularly the poorest households in Villa Maria; many are from single-parent families. The communities in Villa Maria more widely will benefit, as the school helps provide a source of community cohesion for all.

  • 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; 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 means 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

    Jonathan 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 Fundraising Officer; she has spent a lot of time working at the project site and has in-depth knowledge of the project and its aims.

Villa Maria shanty town

Villa Maria shanty town


Will sponsor a child to attend school for one year

A school which is a beacon of hope in their community

La Vida, project sponsor