Teach to Teach: Training Women to Teach Spanish

by Awamaki
Spanish lessons with Sonia and Megan!
Spanish lessons with Sonia and Megan!

Dear GlobalGiving donors,

I am writing to thank you for your generous donations to our “Teach to Teach” project and to share with you the incredible progress we’ve made with the members of our Spanish language cooperative. At Awamaki, we view the exercise of gratitude as an important and humbling exchange that reminds us of how far we’ve come, as well as what our aspirations are in coming months. Many of you donated to this project a little over two and a half years ago, when the Spanish program at Awamaki’s Language Center was in its infancy, and the teachers were just starting their initial six months’ training program. Today, the Awamaki Language Center is well known throughout Ollantaytambo and surrounding communities as the socially-responsible Spanish language school of choice.

As our reputation continues to grow, and our number of students increases, it’s important that our teachers continuously broaden their knowledge base and teaching skills in order to feel confident about their teaching goals and abilities. Recently, the teachers have taken a particular interest in expanding the size and breadth of the Awamaki’s Language Center with the goal of filling up our teachers’ schedules in order to maximize the impact of the program. Following this initiative, we’ve been able to use your generous donations to print new flyers to distribute amongst tourism businesses in town, as well as market our Language Center services in Cusco to anyone who has plans to visit Ollanta and wants an excuse to stay even longer! Additionally, we’ve had the opportunity to improve our classroom facilities and have seen a particular improvement in the Language Center’s teaching ambience due to the new soundproof dividing walls.

In other news, the members of the Spanish cooperative have participated in skills building workshops to better address the needs of the teachers and students at the Language Center. With your generous donations, we’ve been able to provide the teachers with additional teaching resources such as bilingual course books and photocopied educational materials. These materials are now available for all of Awamaki’s teachers to use during their respective teaching sessions and to maintain a sustainable and practical set of resources in the Language Center. The teachers are now able to create their own lesson plans, and collaborate with each other to share and learn from each other’s ideas in utilizing these new resources. Since doing so, the teachers have demonstrated increased levels of self-confidence, and continue to truly enjoy their work at the Awamaki Language Center.

We would like to thank each of you who have supported this particular project. By donating to Awamaki, you are helping us to provide the resources and facilities to support the women who belong to our Spanish language teachers’ cooperative. It is your generosity that provides them with a regular and reliable source of income and for this we cannot thank you enough!

We look forward to keeping you updated on our project developments.


Jenny is a Spanish teacher with Awamaki. She has a high school education and grew up in a farming family, without the resources for higher education. Her husband Moises works in the tourism sector in a low-paying job.  When she became pregnant with her daughter several years ago, she knew she had to find a way to give her daughter the best life possible. 

Two years ago, Jenny signed up with our brand-new Spanish teachers' program. She came every day to six months of training, thanks the childcare provided by your donations to this project. Now, Jenny teaches Spanish several hours per week, earning a high enough wage that she can still spend plenty of time with her daughter, Bianca. Jenny loves her job and is a gifted instructor. Her students expose her to different cultures and new ideas, while she teaches them Spanish grammar and practices conversation with them. "I learn more every day from my students," she says. 

Jenny and Moises have purchased a small piece of land and this month, they are starting construction on their own small home with Jenny's savings from teaching Spanish. They are so excited to be building a home in which to raise their family. 

Whether it's food, schooling or a place to live, Jenny knows what Bianca needs. Donations allow us to teach her the skills required for her to earn money to meet those needs. In 2014, we aim to teach the Spanish teachers to teach Quechua, so that they can access more students and increase their teaching hours. We also aim to begin administration training with them so that they can progress towards being successful, independent business women.

Your donations fund this skills empowerment. As we build these skills, we can increasingly connect women to market opportunities so that they can earn income. The women do the rest. They invest in their families's nutrition, in their kids' education, in concrete floors and warm clothes for the cold Andean winter. They tranform their communities and lift their families out of poverty, woman by woman, household by household. 

Please contribute to Awamaki today and give a sustainable, prosperous future to Jenny and more women like her.

Thank you so much and best wishes for a new year!

Dear donors, 

This year at Awamaki, we are thankful for you. You provide us the funds to give women the skills and opportunity to earn an income and lift their families out of poverty. You believe in us and you invest in our women and their potential. Thanks to you, this year we have:

  • Connected the Spanish teachers to 163 volunteers and tourists, to whom they have provided nearly 1300 hours of language instruction--earning a fair wage for every hour. 
  • Made improvements to the Spanish classrooms, including tables and chairs and whiteboards for each room
  • Offered ongoing teacher support from a local experienced Spanish teacher, who has taught the women new and different exercises and teaching methods. 
  • Inititiated training to teach the women to teach Quechua, their native language, starting next year.
  • Sent teams of staff and volunteers into the field to conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups with all the women with whom we work so that we can better understand their household economies, serve their needs, and help them meet their financial goals.
  • Hired one of the Spanish teachers to be on our staff, where she coordinates spanish classes and other activities, like homestays. Silvia is 19 and has a 3-year-old daughter. She performed so well as a teacher and a leader in the cooperative that we offered her the opportunity to train as an administrator for Awamaki. Silvia manages the classes and now helps other women improve their skills and market access!

We couldn't do this without you, and that's why we made this thank you video

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season!


Spanish class language exchange
Spanish class language exchange

Awamaki’s Spanish teacher cooperative has been up to awesome things! The Spanish classes taught by the women at the Awamaki office here in Ollantaytambo have been running smoothly. Recent volunteers and tourists have been enjoying their lessons, while the women are becoming adept teachers and earning a greater income to support their families. Many of the students have expressed satisfaction with the conversational-style classes. Yesterday, Sonya Beatriz, an Awamaki volunteer, made a Peruvian fusion pizza with her Spanish teacher, Jenny, giving her the chance to practice her newly learned conversational skills in a casual, real world setting!

A handful of women from the cooperative are also currently training to teach Quechua lessons. Not all of the women in our teaching cooperative know how to speak Quechua, but those that do have offered to teach classes to interested tourists and volunteers. Quechua is an eloquent indigenous language that, like indigenous languages across the world, is disappearing. While many of the communities that Awamaki works with still speak Quechua, they are converting more rapidly each year to speaking Spanish, so that they can communicate with a larger audience and have access to increased economic opportunities. By offering Quechua classes, Awamaki and the teachers cooperative hope to help keep the language alive and encourage speakers to place a higher value on speaking the language. Teaching foreign visitors the language helps preserve it and allows visitors to the Andes the opportunity to communicate at a basic level to the women of our cooperatives and other indigenous communities. 

Quechua is a language that has only recently standardized its orthography, and therefore there are not sufficient teaching materials or teaching aids to assist teachers. Awamaki’s Community Education team, comprising of staff and volunteers, got together to create their own course structure, as well as other teaching supplements such as worksheets and homework handouts. The women who will be teaching Quechua have been spending time with other members of the Ollantaytambo community who teach language classes, collecting ideas on how to better formalize the course. Classes will aim to teach only the basics of the language. Awamaki is currently seeking funding to further develop the course and invest in the teachers’ skills. For now, the teachers will start with a trial run of the basic course so that any revisions and improvements can be made.

The opportunity to teach Quechua opens up new customer markets for the teachers, giving them the chance to to teach more hours each week and earn more money for themselves and their families. The women are also extremely excited about the chance to help preserve their native language! Through teaching Quechua, they will get to connect visitors to their heritage in a way that is meaningful and lasting.

Your support makes it possible for Awamaki to provide ongoing training to the teachers and connect them to greater global markets so that they can earn an income to support their families and transform their communities. Thank you for your generosity in supporting this project. The women of Awamaki’s Spanish teachers cooperative are extremely grateful of your donations. We look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the Quechua classes.

Teachers from Awamaki's Spanish Teacher Cooperative have been working hard, leading Spanish lessons for all of Awamaki's new volunteers and a good number of the tourists who pass through Ollantaytambo. Pictured above is Eunhae and Ruth. Eunhae, from South Korea and currently studying at Bryn Mawr College is one of Awamaki's newest volunteers in the Community Education program, and Ruth is her Spanish teacher. Eunhae and Ruth have been hitting the road in Peru lately, exploring the Sacred Valley and speaking Spanish as they go!

Like Ruth, all of Awamaki’s Spanish teachers are dedicated and passionate about teaching Spanish, and have been able to make their classes fun and unique because of all the support their project has received from donors like you! The more captivating the classes, the more people are interested in taking them, which leads to increased economic opportunities for the women.

Are you interested in continuing to support Awamaki's "Teach to Teach: Training Women to Teach Spanish" project? Donate this Wednesday, June 12th and take advantage of Global Giving's Donor Matching Day! All donations made on June 12th will be matched by Global Giving by 30%, but only until matching funds run out... so make sure to make your donation early in the morning!

And if we have the highest number of unique donors on Wednesday, we have the chance to win a $1,000 bonus from Global Giving, so even the smallest donations can make a huge difference to Spanish teachers like Ruth!

Thank you for your continued support. The wonderful work at Awamaki would not be possible without the generous donations from supporters like you! Keep track of our donation succes this Wednesday with us as we post updates to Facebook.


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Organization Information


Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco - Peru
Website: http:/​/​www.awamaki.org/​
Project Leader:
Mary Kennedy Leavens
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru
$14,254 raised of $14,000 goal
204 donations
$0 to go
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