Otra Cosa Network is a registered Peruvian non-profit NGO (no. 11126841) and a UK Registered Charity (no. 1133680) based in Huanchaco, Trujillo on the coast of Northern Peru.
Otra Cosa Network runs five of our own projects, which are all part of the Huanchaco Education and Learning Programme (HELP). HELP is dedicated to advancing the education possibilities and resources for those living in lower-income communities in Huanchaco and the surrounding shanty towns. Alongside this, we support several partner organisations in the area, as well as in two remote locations in northern Peru.
The District of Huanchaco is part of the Trujillo province in La Libertad region, Northern Peru. The district capital is Huanchaco town, a quiet, easy-going place that still retains its fishing-village ambience. Over the last three millennia, locals have stuck to traditional ways of fishing, going out on their caballitos de totora (traditional reed fishing boats), and using their nets to gather their catch for the day. The district is home to Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America and Huanchaco town is a known surf destination. The argument that surfing derived from the pre-Incan caballito fishing traditions is so strong, that in 2013 Huanchaco was designated as a World Surfing Reserve.
In recent decades the District of Huanchaco has expanded exponentially due to migration from the highlands and the jungle by those looking for a better standard of living or forced from their homes by natural disasters such as the El Niño phenomenon in 1997/98. Many of these incomers live in the shanty towns surrounding Huanchaco and their daily reality is very different from many of those living just a ten minute walk away in the centre of the town. Unlike the town centre, these communities lack infrastructure – there are no paved roads, most households don’t have a sewage system and there is limited access to running water. Furthermore, having migrated from even poorer parts of the country, parents in these areas have often had limited access to education, and poverty and social problems are rife. All of this means that children growing up in these neighbourhoods are at a disadvantage from the outset and do not have access to the same educational opportunities as their more privileged counterparts.
In addition to our work in the Huanchaco area, we also work with two mountain village projects: one in Yanasara in the highlands of La Libertad region and one in Sícchezpampa in the highlands of Piura region.