A 16-strong group of local young leaders will travel to Peru this summer to retrace the journey of the Thames Ironworks-built Yavari gunship.
The Yavari Trekkers, who hail from London's most deprived boroughs, are currently fundraising for the adventure, which has the dual aims of developing their leadership skills and restoring the historical links between West Ham United and the region.
The Yavari was commissioned in 1861 by the Peruvian government and built the following year by the precursors of West Ham United, the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company.
It was carried piecemeal on muleback up the Andes to be reassembled on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable waterway. The expedition will see the young Hammers trekking over mountainous passes and crossing the wild and windswept Altiplano (high plateau).
Some 14 days later they will arrive in Puno, where they will engage in football coaching, sharing their passion for the sport with the local young people and taking the name of West Ham with them.
Having overcome their difficult backgrounds and come through programmes at the Club’s Foundation, the Trekkers are now acting as leaders within the local area to show how hard work and the dedication to stay on the right path can benefit the entire community.
The Yavari Trekkers need your help in order to fund this trip of a lifetime, You can donate to their JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/peru-yavari-trekkers. For additional information on the trek, visit the Yavari expedition website - www.peruyavariexpedition.com.
The youngsters paid a recent visit to the Hammers’ Chadwell Heath training ground, where they led students from local primary school Harris Academy through a series of football sessions. Foundation patron Matt Jarvis, Joey O’Brien and Nene were on hand to show off their fancy footwork too.
The sessions were followed by a Kick It Out workshop, which serves to educate people about the importance of stamping out racism and discrimination within football. Troy Townsend, Education and Development Manager at Kick It Out, was delighted at how receptive the group were.
“Looking at some of their faces during the workshop, it was obvious that the messages we were trying to put across really hit home with the Trekkers,” he confirmed. “It is very important for them to understand our no tolerance approach to discrimination and racism, so that they can take it back into the community and spread the word.
“The leadership skills they have been developing will be invaluable during their time in Peru and their journey to this point has been incredible.”