Zaña is the name of a small town as well as a district, a valley and a river. The town is located 45 km south of Chiclayo, 770 km north of Lima, in the coastal region. It was founded in 1563 by the Spaniards and was once destined to be the capital of Peru. But it was destroyed in 1720 by El Niño, resulting in the exodus of the Spaniards and sharp decline of the city. Now the village of Zaña houses about 4,000 people living mostly from agriculture. Traditional crops consist of rice, sugar and corn. In recent years, a few large farming enterprises exporting peppers and fruits have started operating in the Valley, providing more employment opportunities with better working conditions. As result, a growing number of internal migrants mostly from the Andes are trying to establish themselves in the Valley. They are often illiterate squatters who build their own houses of sticks and mud (adobe), with no electricity, water or sewage. They wish for a better future for their children. The majority of our students come from such families.
Zaña is located on the coast of Peru.   It is 45 km south of Chiclayo and 770 km north of Lima.
The valley of Zaña lies in the coastal desert of Northern Peru.
Traditional rice cultivation in the Zaña Valley made possible through irrigation.
Internal migrants from the Sierra build their houses of adobe.They often cook on unhealthy, open wood fires.
A typical courtyard: Most people raise chickens and ducks to subsist and generate some income.
In San Rafael, where many of our students come from, residents have access to water by means of hand pumps.
Sunset in San Rafael
Old houses in Zaña
Working in the fields, when there is work, is the main occupation of our students' parents.
View of Zaña and the iconic Cerro Corbacho mountain  from the ruins of the San Augustin Monastery
In 1720, El Niño destroyed the city of Zaña.  It is now called a ghost town in the Lonely Planet Guide despite its population of over 3,000 inhabitants.
In May 2017, the bridge that many of our students use was reconstructed after it was washed away due to El Nino.