There are several NGOs in Ollantaytambo that you may contact if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities and homestay options.
Based in Ollantaytambo, Awamaki (Calle Convención s/n, across from the temple, www.awamaki-us.org), founded by American Kennedy Leavens, is a Peruvian NGO partnered with a U.S. NGO of the same name that administers a weaving project with Quechua women and promotes health, education, and sustainable tourism. They have been instrumental in helping weavers in Patacancha and other communities restore their ancient weaving techniques and find sustainable ways to market their products.
Awamaki can arrange all kinds of volunteer experiences, Spanish language immersion programs, homestays, excursions to the communities outside of Ollantaytambo, and classes in ceramics, basket weaving, and cooking. A highly recommended experience is Awamaki’s weaving class in Patacancha.
Another NGO is Living Heart (www.livingheartperu.org), founded by Sonia Newhouse, who also owns Heart’s Cafe on the Plaza de Armas. Living Heart aims to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged Andean children.
Ollantaytambo’s elementary school has a Tierra de Niños (Children’s Land) organized by Ania (www.mundodeania.org), a Lima-based NGO that helps inculcate the love of nature in children. The main force behind Ollantaytambo’s Children’s Land is Aima Molinari, who can be reached at aimamolinari [at] gmail [dot] com. More information about the project can be found at www.tiniollantaytambo.blogspot.com
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition