About Us


Our Mission

Vanishing Cultures Foundation, Inc. was created to support the indigenous people of Peru by preserving their spiritual lineage and supporting their economic development.

Vanishing Cultures’ approach to fulfilling its mission is one that provides funding, practical advice and hands on support for each village project. We assist but never interrupt. We support but do not interfere. The village is involved in every step of the process. The input of the village is critical to our mission.

Our mandate comes from the word ‘ayni,’ a Quechua word from the Andes that means reciprocity or an exchange that maintains balance in the flow of energy from one source to another. This is the cornerstone of the Andean relationship with the universe as well as the guiding principle of our foundation.


Vanishing Cultures is governed by a Board of Directors whose officers are listed below as of January 2008.

Denise Kinch, President, Secretary
Kristen Wennekamp, Treasurer
Rebecca Clough
Hans Li
Carmen Brown, Translator
Mercedes Huarhua Pillco, Peruvian liason
Elizabeth Kinch, SHP Advisor / Photographer
Kristina Kinch, MMT advisor

Denise A Kinch
Denise A. Kinch began her healing work at a very young age by working with animals and became aware of the importance of the animal-human-nature bond in healing. Denise incorporates many areas of holistic healing in her work and has extensively studied both conventional and alternative medicines. She shares her knowledge throughout Europe, North America and South America. 

Denise was present with Don Manuel Quispe at the time of his death when he gave her his final personal and highest rites and his ceremonial poncho to carry on his traditions.

Denise continues her work learning the ancient healing traditions of the Andes with Don Martin Pinedo, Dona Julia Farfan, Isabel Churiga and Olinda. Because of her dedication to the traditions and native people of Peru, Don Martin gifted his Condor to Denise in 2006.

Denise and her husband Paul founded Vanishing Cultures Foundation in 1995. She is the President of Vanishing Cultures Foundation, Inc. Her work with the Foundation includes leading the annual Student Humanitarian Trips and the Mountain Medical Team to the villages high in the Andes of Peru to work with the people and their herds of llama and alpaca. Denise is the only American who has lived, studied and worked among the people in the high Q’ero villages, 18 times.

Denise also leads annual journeys with young people and adults to the sacred sites of the Inca in Peru to work with the local Medicine people. She founder of the Pachamama Healing Center in Groveland, Massachusetts, which she began as a community healing center for people and animals.

Hans Li
Hans Li holds a Masters of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Tufts University and a Diploma of Photography from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Hans practiced Architecture for six years with Richard Meier before dedicating himself to studying the architectural monuments of the Ancient Americans.

Hans Li has been on the VCF Board of Directors for eight years and is also the founder and President of Waka Foundation based in New York. 

Kristen Wennekamp
Kristen is a graduate of North Shore Community College with her Associates’ Degree in Travel. She is currently working for Videyko Chiropractic in Newburyport MA as a billing administrator.

After doing energy work with Denise Kinch and learning about Vanishing Cultures Foundation and its mission, Kristen became very interested in helping the people of Peru. She became involved with VCF about three years ago and currently serves on the Board as its Treasurer.

Reba Clough
Bio coming soon

Gina Lauvstad
Gina is a shamanic practitioner and mesa carrier in the Q’ero tradition. She has worked with Denise Kinch since 2009. Gina has traveled Peru learning the healing traditions of the Andes, Jungle and Coastal areas. In addition to studying the Q’ero tradition from Denise Kinch, she has had the opportunity to work with a powerful ayahuascaro in the jungle as well as Isabel Chinguel and Olinda Pintado of Northern Peru. Gina is also one of the few people who have traveled and worked with the high mountain Q'ero nation delivering school supplies, basic health care, veterinary supplies, and clean water filters. Gina has a passion for the traditions of Peru and continues to learn about and support the communities from which these traditions arise. Currently she has been in the process of developing Salka Healing Center, a healing practice located in the Seattle, WA area.

Carmen Brown
Carmen was born in Mayaquez, Puerto Rico into a poor family. Her parents worked very hard, her father at an oil refinery and her mother as a supervisor at a Maidenform factory. They moved to Ponce, PR when she was one-year old. It was the weekends spent at her grandfather’s house in the mountains and her summers in Lares at a coffee plantation belonging to her other grandfather that gave her the foundation of who she is today.
In the mountains she was encouraged to roll in the dirt and walk in the dark into the mountain at night. There were clouds and stars above that she could touch. Nature was all around her with the flowers and plants that bloomed continuously.

During the week, Carmen attended private Catholic school and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in a class of 24. She went on to the University of Puerto Rico where she graduated as an Occupational Therapist in 1976.  

She landed a job at the New York State Department of Health and is still there! She says that her patients are her biggest teachers. Her favorite thing to do is to make them laugh. Carmen, now a single mother, has three boys that keep her very busy.

When Carmen arrived in New York, her childhood friend Marie came to live with her.. Marie became very sick with Hodgkin’s disease and died at the age of 24. Ester, Marie’s mother from Puerto Rico, became Carmen’s adopted mother and teacher during this very sad transition. Ester, now 85, is a ‘santera’ as part of an Afro-Caribbean religion. She uses tools for protection and cleansing and to perform healings and removed entities and implants.

Carmen has completed training of Advanced Inca Medicine with Denise Kinch, training in the sacred, ancient Andean traditions. She is also a Reiki 1 in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition. She serves as translator on the Board of Directors of Vanishing Cultures Foundation, a non-profit organization serving to help the indigenous people of Peru.

Mercedes Huarhua Pillco
Mercedes has sold the most exquisite and finely made jewelry in the Cuzco area.  She comes from a family of artists. Her father was an expert and meticulous stone cutter and silversmith who passed his art on to all of his children. He also knew conventional education would be necesssary in the changing times of Peru.

Mercedes has a degree in accounting and is our financial liason for the VCF programs throughout Peru.

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