Gallery: Wendy's travels with her camera

For six weeks photographer Wendy Turner embraced a new challenge, stepping out of her comfort zone and travelled more than 6,000 miles in search of inspiration.

Lizzie Parry

For six weeks photographer Wendy Turner embraced a new challenge, stepping out of her comfort zone and travelled more than 6,000 miles in search of inspiration.

The Ipswich-based Evening Star photographer ventured off in October on her travels to Peru, leaving behind her husband Nigel and sons Matthew and Jonny, to volunteer at a children's centre in Cuzco.

Imparting her advice and expertise Wendy, armed with two cameras, a laptop and a printer helped inspire the youngsters at the centre to take their own snaps.

The Inti Runakunaq Wasin Centre, which translates as children of the sun, provides deprived children in Cuzco with an after-school club.

Children ranging in age from eight to 18 go there for help with their homework, arts and crafts, help to cook and play with other children and the volunteers.

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Nestled in the Inca heartland Wendy, from Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, helped the children take their own photos, giving them disposable cameras to record their home life.

She said: “The children were so responsive. It was amazing seeing the excitement on their faces when we took out the cameras. They loved taking photos of themselves and were quite happy to be directed and helped.

“As part of the photography project I sent three of the girl's home with disposable cameras.

“It was a real eye-opener. You could see they lived very differently to us, it made me realise what is really important in life.

“One of the girls wrote 'I am from a loving family, my mum and dad work very hard but they love us very much'. Some of the children come from one-bedroom homes surviving on low incomes; some of them cannot read or write.

“They were just lovely to be around. It is very humbling, I realised how much we waste and that material things are just not important. It really puts things in perspective, especially at Christmas when you see how little they have and how much we take for granted.”

With long days at work parents of the youngsters at the centre have little time in the evenings to play with their children and so the centre and its volunteers are a vital support.

Wendy added: “I just needed a new challenge, to do something different to inspire my photography.

“It was a huge personal challenge, one to travel on my own and secondly to go somewhere different but to do it in a safe and organised way. Travelling alone was really easy, it was easier than going with someone in a way, because at the airport you only had yourself to worry about.

“I met so many like-minded people, and travelled and stayed with people I met along the way, it was lovely, I was never on my own and I had the chance to meet people from all over the world.

“The whole experience has made me even more aware that you don't need material things in life; it makes you appreciate what you have got so much more and how lucky we are in the western world, however badly off people think they are. We have a free education system and free health service for a start.

“It was a marvellous experience, it was an exciting challenge working with the children, which is something I have never done before. I would love to go back and spend more time there.”

For more information about the centre and to see how you could help contact Wendy via email at or call her on 07799402531.

The Inti Runakunaq Wasin centre:-

The centre is a non-profit organisation offering a place for children who live in extreme poverty.

The name of the centre translates as 'House of the people of the sun'.

The home is open during the day and run by volunteer teachers and social workers.

At any one time between 10 and 30 children visit the centre, ranging in age from eight to 18.

Children are helped with their school work as well as enjoying activities including carpentry, cooking, music, shoe repair and English.

Volunteers like Wendy bring another dimension to the centre, playing with the children and inspiring them to try new things.

Nikon donated two cameras to the centre and Hewlett Packard donated a printer which Wendy has left at the centre to allow the youngsters to carry on their photography projects.

She added: “I am hoping they carry on with their photography.”

Wendy's sightseeing highlights:-

Cuzco, set in the Inca heartland, is the gateway to Machu Picchu. The high-flying Andean city is the bearer of many grand titles.

It is the foremost city of the Inca empire, the undisputed archaeological capital of South America, as well as the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city.

Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is the best known archaeological site in South America.

Tourists flock to see the awe-inspiring landmark.

Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake with passenger boat services. Reed villages float on the lake and tourists visiting the magnificent site can stay with families in their reed houses.

Colca Canyon is a top spot to see condor birds. The imposing scenery is near the Sacred Valley, home to a number of Inca ruins.