The Urpi Wasi-family

Urpi Wasi is not just like a second family for many children, also the project is carried and lead with much love and sympathy by 'a big supporting family'.

The children and their families

Approximately 350 children at the age of 0 - 12 years come each day to the childcare center. All of them come from families living in very poor circumstances in the slums of Cusco/Peru, most of them from single-mother families. Urpi Wasi provides a loving and safe environment, while their mothers work. Most of the mothers are laundresses working in private houses or selling small items at the local market or on the street. The first aim is to keep the children away from the street. Therefore Urpi Wasi offers a whole day care.

Urpi Wasi’s team has also the crucial and delicate task of selecting new children under its care. They do this by visiting children’s families personally, allowing them to see the entire picture of the children’s social and economic situation. Vacancies are assigned to those who need it most.

The Team

barbara_uw Familie_kleinBarbara Casanova

Barbara Casanova from Obersaxen, Switzerland, is the founder and director of the childcare center Urpi Wasi.

After volunteering at an orphanage in Cusco, Peru, for nine years, in 1989, she founded the institution “Fundación Urpi Wasi” together with some Peruvian friends and opened a daycare in September 1990.

Until this day, Barbara leads Urpi Wasi.


Read about Urpi Wasi's history

Members of staff

The Urpi Wasi is lead by a team of 24 people:

6 full time teachers in the primary school
3 part-time teachers
3 kindergarten teachers’
10 auxiliary workers
1 psychologist

and the director and founder "Tía Barbi", which means “Aunt Barbara” as Barbara Casanova is called in Urpi Wasi. The whole team makes a great effort in the childcare center. Some of them have been working there since the very first day of the foundation of Urpi Wasi.

Volunteers and Swiss teachers

The school Urpi Wasi is accompanied by a teacher from Switzerland during the school year. The mutual exchange is interesting for both parties leaving behind an important and positive long term-term effect.

Urpi Wasi acknowledges the support of volunteers and trainees. With a lot of engagement the volunteers deal with many aspects of the house during several months. Everybody profits from this process: The local staff is relieved by the volunteer support and at the same time, the volunteer receives a unique insight into a foreign culture and can see the development of the cooperation directly.

Read more about our primary-school



Our supporters

Fundación URPI WASI Cusco, Peru

The foundation Urpi Wasi was established in 1989. It is a Peruvian institution with national recognition.

Benefactors and friends

Urpi Wasi is supported exclusively by private donations and the contributions by the mothers. Without these benefactors and the many friends, who support Urpi Wasi financially, materially and with love, interest and confidence, the childcare center would not have reached its current state.

How to contribute to Urpi Wasi