Semillas De Vida

Huaraz, Peru

‘Semillas de Vida’ is a new community elementary school located just outside of Huaraz, Peru.  The name of the school means ‘seeds of life’, its mission is to provide the educational elements that children need, to grow into healthy, inspired, informed, and compassionate adults.  The project came into being as an extension of an organic community garden started two and a half years ago by a group of friends in Huaraz who wanted to explore both healthier eating options for themselves and their families as well as create a clean and aesthetic natural area they could spend their weekends working and playing in, something that did not exist in the city of 100,000+ habitants.   The garden community began with 15 people who over the course of time transformed a dry, infertile plot of land just outside of town into a thriving garden and a lovely recreational area that they opened to the community each weekend.


The garden in its infancy…

Several of the members of the garden project had children in kindergarten at that time, all of whom were concerned about how to deal with the coming school years given the lack of a primary educational institution in the city which valued the things that we wished for our children.  We wanted to include environmental education, exploration of art & music, adventure learning, and community building into our children’s scholastic experience.  We wanted not only intellectual development but emotional and physical, as well as a multi-lingual and multi-cultural environment.  And so somewhere in there, while weeding garden beds, Semillas de Vida was born and with it, the great task and huge potential of bringing this style of education to others in the area.  A piece of land that was not being used on the community garden was donated to the project and we began almost immediately.  The building project commenced with one large donation we received plus that which the garden members could contribute financially.  Three teachers have dedicated their services to the project for this year (2 foreign, one local), students were sought out, registration with the ministry of education as a ‘community school’ submitted, and school starts February 27, 2012!


The   Construction Project…

The school will begin with two classes, one kindergarten (3-4 yrs) and one first grade (6 years +).  The curriculum will be Waldorf, an approach to education that emphasizes the imagination in learning, striving to develop both analytic and creative thinking.  We have 15 children enrolled currently from Peru, Argentina, Belgium, and the United States, coming from families that span the economic and cultural spectrums and are continuing to look for more.  4 local kids will attend via a scholarship fund that we are collecting and we are committed to keeping these four with us throughout.  The schoolhouse is a one-room facility and the two classes will be coordinating their time both indoors and out-of-doors to ensure that the open garden space, forest, and river are taken advantage as an educational stage.  Parents are expected to share in the educational experience and dedicate 2 hours per parent per month with the kids, speaking in their native language during their session and sharing something that they are passionate about and capable of teaching.  We are projecting 11 years into the future at present, aiming to take the two starting classes through the eighth grade, and then hopefully begin  the cycle again and again.

Our goal is simple.   To educate a small group of children in a way that allows them connect to themselves, each other, and the natural world through a process which respects individual rhythm and natural curiosity, providing the tools that they will need in life to be balanced and successful.  Because those of us who are creating the school are also parents of some of the students, we are wholly committed to the project and its outcomes.


Seeds, School, Nourishment!

Any financial support towards the school would be greatly appreciated and will go 100% towards the costs of construction of the facility and/or student scholarship assistance.  We are currently working to raise money to help cover the finishing touches on the building (wooden flooring, an interior ‘decorative’ ceiling, installation of electric and water, kitchen installations, landscaping, a playground and low challenge course, as well as scholarship funding for the 4 students who we have given spaces to for this year.  Our fund raising goal at this point is $12,000 in construction and $5,400 in scholarship assistance for the above-mentioned 4 student’s tuition for this year.  Donations are tax deductible via a U.S. non-profit that we also work closely with in the area called On Belay Ty: (just let them know it’s for the Semillas de Vida school project).  We also have a PayPal account into which we can receive donations directly, however, at this time these contributions are not tax deductible due to our status as a non-USA entity:  Our progress can be seen online via facebook, searching Semillas de Vida or: as well as a coming website,  For questions or any additional information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Jenn Hrinkevich at


2 responses to “Semillas

  1. hello, hello, hello! I have so wanted to get in touch but have the same old excuses we all do about time and not enough of it. I was so happy to hear of the coming baby to you and MIke and the kids and all that entails! Also, I love the pictures and stories of the school in Peru as sent about our community on Facebook. I am still not a facebook follower or participant but Russ keeps me up on all he thinks I might find inspiring.

    Last night I actually dreamed of your school or some creative dreamlike facsimile of it. I woke thinking about Noah and his teenage angst that seems to have set in pretty hard. I’ve been trying to think of something meaningful for him to do this summer and a wild thought crossed my mind. Even though the costs might make it prohibitive, I wonder if he could help in the building of this school? From this pictures it looks much more finished and beautiful then I expected (although the beauty of it did not surprise me) and I am wondering if this is still a work in progress and how long you guys will be there? I’m not sure what I’m suggesting but he keeps talking about how “irrelevent” his education seems to have been, he wants something REAL and with purpose and immediate results and consequence. Maybe he and I will come and volunteer?? What a crazy idea but the more I think about it the more I like it.

    The weather has been gloomy here for about a month now, I remind everyone that this is the same time every year that we all wonder why we live here…to hang in there for those days we can’t imagine living anywhere else.

    More to come, miss you all and love you Rachel.

    Olivia says hello and a big hug and a kiss for Quinn and Tula!


    • Debra,

      How awesome to hear from you! I think you and Noah would have a very fulfilling experience here, besides working with the school and the garden, this area is a climbing and trekking mecca where there would be many opportunities for him to explore the Andes. I can e-mail you more details… Sending lots of love and hoping you get some sunshine in the coming weeks.

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