Project Peru is a small, lively, totally voluntary charity offering food, clothes, shelter, education, health and fun to those who live in the children’s refuge in the desert shanty towns of Lima, and giving ongoing and practical support to those who live in extreme poverty in the local community. Project Peru's refuge in Zapallal, cares for about 50 children and offers real opportunities to children and staff alike.
Anchored in long-lasting, long distance friendships and inspired by years of solidarity with Latin America, Project Peru is giving back to those who have given so generously. A lively, imaginative, voluntary initiative that is tuned in to reality, they took off in 1992 from Guildford and have gone so far since.
The work of the Refuge
The focal point for Project Peru's work in Peru is the refuge for children in Zapallal, near Lima. They regularly provide food, shelter and support for about 50 children and young people on a residential basis.
Project Peru interact with the children's closest family members and also use their refuge as a base for wider work in the local community.
They also distribute a variety of material goods sent from the UK, both to the refuge, to the families of the children, to the immediate community and from time to time into the interior of Peru.
Not only for 'street kids'
The criterion Project Peru use for the people they help is that they have needs that are able to be addressed.
The children are not specifically "street children" in the current popular understanding of the phrase, though some may be, and some might be if Project Peru did not help. Many do have relatives who for different reasons cannot care for them. Some unaccompanied children come for short periods until they can be accepted into other neighbouring refuges or until they can reunite with family members to try to rebuild their normal family lives.
Peru has experienced difficult times in the past and there has been much displacement and disruption to family life over the past generation, particularly when this project was started.
To an extent, though, that problem has eased over recent years. But although some parts of the economy may have improved Project Peru try to focus on the parts of society that are still exposed to extreme poverty and still need help.