Student Life
The Pura Vida Foundation
The Pura Vida Foundation

Founded in 2005, The Pura Vida Foundation (meaning “Pure Life” in Spanish) is a registered charity in Canada, working in the social sector of Cusco, Peru and its surrounding communities. The Foundation’s purpose is to improve the lives of children and youth through fostering healthy and supportive living – specifically in the rural regions surrounding the city of Cusco, Peru. Their goal is to provide young women who have experienced marginalization, exploitation, and abuse with the necessary resources to enhance their quality of living. For more information, please visit the Pura Vida website


The Pura Vida Foundation all started with one person and his camera. Around 10 years ago, Nathan Beninger, the founder of the Pura Vida Foundation was a young photographer who was travelling around Latin America completing photojournalism projects. While on assignment in Latin America, young photographer Nathan Beninger witnessed and photographed the striking disparities many people experience every day.
For the first four years, Nathan worked at several orphanages and shelters for abandoned and abused young children of Peru.  During his time, The Pura Vida Foundation was able to set up programs and workshops for these children.
After years of working and supporting these facilities, in 2009, the Foundation decided to open their own shelter for exploited and severely abused young girls.  Their hope is to break down the walls of poverty through education and rehabilitation.

The Pura Vida Foundation's mission is to improve the life and future of young women who have experienced exploitation and abuse by creating a safe environment and providing access to education, holistic development and community tools.


They envision a world where the glass is overflowing with kindness, love and compassion.

Where others might see ‘problems’ and ‘causes’ to be solved with sweeping gestures, The Pura Vida Foundations sees a need to rattle the foundations of the complex systems that produce inequality. In order to have an impact, they believe we must work to lever change at the individual, community and societal levels. It’s not enough to beat the drum of a cause and demand people change the cadence of their steps; rather, through advocacy and awareness they want to co-create a new rhythm within the communities they work with; one where equality, human security and access to basic human rights are not apart from traditional values and practices.

They envision communities of women and girls empowered through holistic, person-centred development. By providing access to the basic building blocks for social mobility–education, healthcare, food and shelter–they create a world where community, belonging and reciprocity ripple out to form a tidal wave of change.


The Pura Vida Foundation believes in the dignity of every person–regardless of gender, ability, beliefs or history. That together, through responsible and ethical development practices that do not impose solutions and are sensitive to culture and language, that people can grow through adversity. They believe in meeting everyone where they are at, in being fully present and committed to the moment while remaining inspired by the possibility of the future.