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Brentwood makes charity expedition to mountains of Peru

Ashli Aikins, founder of Mosqoy, go over things the students need to know in preparation for their trip to Peru during a consultation at the Crooks Hall on Wednesday. - Andrew Leong
Ashli Aikins, founder of Mosqoy, go over things the students need to know in preparation for their trip to Peru during a consultation at the Crooks Hall on Wednesday.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

A group of 24 Brentwood College students are gearing up to take part in the private school’s first ever organized international service trip.

The Grade 11 and 12 students, selected by three teacher chaperones from 40 students who applied, will be setting off to Cusco, Peru March 9 to volunteer with Mosqoy.

“A former Brentwood student was a volunteer and brought the founder, Ashli Akins to talk to our (Student Activities Committee),” explained teacher chaperone Susan Quinton.

“We helped sell the mountain weavers textiles and sponsored the education of village youth.”

Now the school’s taking it to the next level, with students helping the Canadian charity set up a new learning dormitory.

Mosqoy works to promote educational and cultural rights of indigenous Quechua communities in the Peruvian Andes, providing economic opportunities for communities of the region, while nurturing its threatened indigenous culture.

It has three main programs: Textile Revitalization Program, which provides fair-trade outlets and workshops for indigenous artisans; Our Andean Youth Program, which provides post-secondary educational opportunities for marginalized youth in remote communities; and the Global Stewardship Program, which educates Canadian youth about how to be responsible consumers and travelers.

“In March, we have to move to a new location, because our current dormitory is too small,” explained Akins. “We will rent our next Casa Mosqoy for approximately one to two years, before hopefully building our very own.”

The Casa Mosqoy is the dormitory where Mosqoy’s scholarship students live while they complete their degrees.

“Many of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are labeled as at-risk youth; some come from families of domestic violence and alcoholism...” Akins said.

“Therefore, this house is often the first positive family environment our students have ever experienced. Also, the shift from their rural Quechua communities to the city of Cusco is a culture shock, which requires a smooth and supportive transition, so that the students feel safe and empowered.

“We are so excited to welcome Brentwood College School students as volunteers who will help us move to our new Casa Mosqoy, and set up a home environment that is inspiring, community-oriented, and functional.”

“A trip like this is life changing,” added Quinton. “This sense of empathy for another culture cannot be learned in books. The students will be challenged physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. Hopefully, this trip will begin a lifetime of altruistic acts of service.”

Before students can hop the plane to Peru, they need to fundraise $6,000 of the $12,000 required to take part.

The students will return March 24.

Donate here.

If you wish to pay by cheque, please write it to “Mosqoy,” with the memorandum labeled “Brentwood Project.” Please mail all cheques to 21-21 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC, V8V 4Z9.

All donations will receive a tax-deductible receipt, as Mosqoy is a registered Canadian charity.

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