Club Corner: Questions for the Peruvian Education Initiative (PEI)
By Laura Zaccagnino ’12, Contributing Writer
What is PEI?

PEI stands for the Peruvian Education Initiative. We are a club that was started a few years ago by an Amherst alum.

What does the club do?

The goal of PEI is to provide private secondary school education for deserving but financially disadvantaged students living in the slums of Lima, Peru. Fortunately, Peru has one of the highest rates of economic growth in Latin America. Unfortunately, Peru also has one of the worst public school networks in Latin America. By giving these kids the chance to attend private school for free, we are really giving them the opportunity to hopefully go on to college and be able to take part in Peru’s growing economy.

How did the club start?

The club was founded by Amherst alumnus, Rom Cabeza. He had spent previous summers doing volunteer work in Lima and was inspired to found the organization.

Are there other PEI organizations in other campuses?

Yes, we are currently working through SAAC chairs at various NESCAC schools to launch chapters across the Northeast. We currently have two other confirmed chapters: Gates College and Boston University.

What about activities?

Our Amherst activities center around fundraising. Our biggest fundraiser is an alpaca hat sale; we also produce the Men of Amherst calendar and sponsor such events as the FIFA tournament, ping-pong tournament and triathalon.

What do you plan to do in the future?

In the near future we hope to do more awareness events. We would love to co-sponsor something with the Spanish department or the Political Science department. Our affiliations in Peru have put us in contact with some big names in Latin American development.

What does the club offer its members?

Our biggest sell is the chance to get involved in a serious development organization. Part of this includes a yearly trip to Peru that many members have taken advantage of. The funding for this trip comes from the CCE and we are extremely grateful for their support. It is vital that we maintain personal contacts with the our students, their families and their schools.

How do you join?


When do you meet?

We generally meet Thursdays at 9 p.m., upstairs in Keefe.

What’s unique about the club?

It is an emerging non-profit, run entirely by Amherst students, posed to make a huge impact in the lives of some very special students.

Issue 22, Submitted 2010-04-15 14:23:41