Intiwawa was born to socially empower low-income families in communities of Arequipa which face high levels of child labor and domestic violence. Founder Leonel Revilla, together with a collective of friends, began working with children from a community in Mollebaya to support local families in improving their quality of life through education. From there, Intiwawa grew and developed new programs, in response to the needs of the local communities.
Leonel and his group of friends had been working with the children from the vulnerable communities of Arequipa for 2 years. In 2007, they met Henning Lüke, who had been travelling around South America. The collective group were deeply concerned about the poverty and social problems they had encountered, and their dream was to develop a sustainable project in the southern region of Arequipa to combat domestic violence and child labor. Leonel, Henning and the group of other young psychologists involved in the groundwork agreed that something had to change.
It became clear that the community project needed international support to have a long-lasting and sustainable impact. Alongside this, the work needed to be unified and formalized into an independent, official organization: Intiwawa was born. After only three months of planning, Intiwawa was registered in Peru with the help of French and German allies Juan, Henning and Susana.
In 2007, Henning returned to Germany and founded Intiwawa e.V. to raise funds for the work in Peru. In the following years, Intiwawa grew steadily, gaining international visibility and recognition. Soon, the number of active team members had grown to more than 70 volunteers from all over the world. Thanks to the combined efforts of local volunteers and three sponsors from Germany, Casa Intiwawa was built as a project center in Mollebaya, a safe community hub for the children and their families.
2018 was a pivotal year for the restructuring of the organization, as Intiwawa was re-established as IWA en Acción, creating the new key position of general director and hiring part-time staff. Alongside this, a new division of administrative roles was created, with coordinators leading the areas of marketing and communications, recruitment, fundraising, finance, and more. During this time, the organization formally established its mission, vision, and goals, and reorganized its activities into the main projects which still remain active today.
Today, Intiwawa has more than 200 members from 28 countries, with a professional committee in charge of its administration, and a multidisciplinary team from around the world who influence the lives of around 60 children and their families. We are proud to have a successful track record of more than 15 years of community development work towards our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty in Arequipa.
In its short history, Intiwawa has gained international recognition for its work. The Goldman Sachs Foundation and the Institute for International Education awarded Intiwawa the 2008 Global Leadership Award for Social Enterprise for its health promotion initiatives. Our ever-growing number of local and international alliances with renowned universities, businesses and other NGOs, reflects our successful reputation in Peru and abroad.