The School at the end of the Rainbow

“Drive Slow. Future Leaders at Play.” That’s the message that visitors encounter at the Children of The Rainbow School in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

The Children of the Rainbow School is more than just an educational facility. It embraces a “whole child” philosophy, so it transcends education, and becomes an oasis of nutrition, medical care and hope. It’s not just the students who benefit here, but also their siblings and parents.

Parents are required to visit the school occasionally, so they can be brought up to speed on what their children are learning, and that education can be reinforced in the home.

Located on a 6.5 acre campus, near the town of Urubamba—about 50 miles north of Cusco—the school has an on-site nurse, available for both the children and their parents. A doctor and a dentist also make weekly visits to the school. The school also provides a mobile clinic, consisting of a doctor and a dentist, who travel to the more remote Andean villages four times a year.

The Children of The Rainbow School is the product of the vision of Helena van Engelen, a Dutch expatriate, who on a visit to Peru, saw the way some of the poorer children in the region were living, and knew what she had to do. “I got the call,” she says. “It was time to give something back.” In 2001, van Engelen sold her home, moved to Peru and began work on the Children of The Rainbow School.

There are currently about 125 students (Kindergarten-Grade 6) enrolled in the school. Since its opening, the school has enrolled over 1,500 children, thereby positively impacting anywhere from 7,500 to 10,000 members of the community.

The school also offers vocational training for older students, including a culinary school. In fact, visitors to the school are often treated to a meal prepared by the students. The dishes feature traditional recipes, and organic produce grown on nearby farms, and can compete with those from some of the most renowned restaurants in the area.

Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy has helped support the Children of The Rainbow School since 2008, and many Abercrombie & Kent itineraries include a visit to the school. It’s a transformative experience. After a warm welcome from the children, guests visit the school’s cafeteria, kitchen, garden and classrooms—interacting with the children and gaining insights from A&K’s local Philanthropy Coordinator along the way.

Many guests are so moved by their visit, they join Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy in making a financial contribution to the school. Since 2008, the organization and visiting guests have contributed a combined $350,000 to the school.

Given the good works taking place at the Children of The Rainbow School, it’s not inconceivable that there could be future leaders at play there right now. So yes, please drive slowly.

If you would like to visit the Children of the Rainbow School on a visit to Peru, please check out the trip below.