SOS Children in Peru
Overview of Peru
Peru is one of the larger countries (five times bigger than UK) in South America with a rich and varied culture and a wealth of natural resources. However the majority of the population of over 27 million, are impoverished indigenous Native Americans, and the social contrasts between rich and poor are enormous. Peru's development has been held back by corruption and the failure to face up to social problems.
Despite recent economic growth, there has been little improvement in the lives of the poorest people. Many live in massive slums, lacking even the most basic needs. More than half the population is unemployed and malnutrition, particularly amongst children, is widespread. The average daily income per person is less than £4 (In the UK the equivalent figure is £46).
Our Work in Peru
We started our work in Peru in 1975. Today there are ten SOS Children's Villages in Peru (one more is currently under construction) which are home to over 1200 children and young people. In addition there are 27 projects attached to the Villages providing education, and social and vocational training for the local communities.
Zarate is the oldest SOS Children's Village in Peru. It was opened in 1975. It is about three miles from the centre of Lima, the capital of Peru. It has 16 family houses, a community centre, an SOS Nursery and a handicrafts workshop. There is also a small farm.
We opened our second SOS Children's Village at Esperanza in 1978. It is located in Chosica, about 25 miles from the capital Lima. There are 12 family houses.
The third SOS Children's Village is also located in Chosica. The SOS Children's Village at Rio Hondo has 12 family houses, a nursery, a community centre and a workshop. The children attend the local schools in Chosica.
In northern Peru, close to the border with Ecuador, about 475 miles from Lima, is the SOS Children's Village Chiclayo. It has 12 family houses, two SOS Youth Homes and a nursery. We set up two SOS Social Centres in Chiclayo to provide day care for children of working families and single mothers and other community support programmes.
In southern Peru lies Arequipa, the country's second largest city. The SOS Children's Village Arequipa is in Cerro Colorado in the western part of the city, in an area with good schools and other facilities which are used by the SOS Children's Village. It has 13 family houses and four youth houses. Two SOS Social Centres have also been established in Arequipa providing similar services to those in Chiclayo.
High in the Andes, and once the centre of the legendary Inca kingdom, Tahuantinsuyo, is a popular tourist attraction. The SOS Children's Village Cuzco, the sixth to be built in Peru, is close to the city centre, in the district of Santiago. Its 13 family houses and two SOS Youth Homes provide a family home for over 100 children and young people. There is also an SOS Social Centre providing community support programmes and child day-care.
Peru's seventh SOS Children's Village opened in 1999 in Huancayo, about 180 miles east of the capital, Lima. The 13 family houses in the SOS Children's Village Huancayo are home to more than 100 children. We run two SOS Social Centres that provide handicraft and household management courses for local women as well as a wide ranging education programme for local children.
The eighth community in Peru was opened in 2001 on land donated by the Archbishop of Peru. Callao is a district of Lima that has high unemployment and families on low incomes. The Village consists of 12 family houses and an SOS Social Centre that includes a day care centre for 120 pre-school children. In addition an SOS Social Centre provides medical care for children and their families from the local community.
A ninth Village was taken over by SOS Children in Pachacamac in 2007. The Village contains 8 family houses and two workshops, where carpentry, tailoring and gardening are taught. There is a sports ground, where the children can play and have fun. Small animals such as poultry and rabbits are kept in coops and hutches.
Ayacucho and Juliaca
The tenth Village in Ayacucho opened in 2010 and an eleventh in Puno is currently being built, whilst we are already providing a temporary home for 30 children. The Juliaca SOS Children's Village is now nearing completion and will accommodate 108 children.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Peru:
"You know the tree by its fruits" is a popular saying that expresses well all the goals reached by Nily Gutierrez Gomes, a young woman who has just graduated from a university with a degree in Education. Today she is a source of great pride for her SOS family and for the whole community of SOS Children's Village Cuzco.
The staff still remembers when Nily arrived with her brother Wilder at the SOS Children's Village Cuzco. She was only eight years old and he was seven when their mother had died prematurely. This experience marked Nily, definitively making her stronger but at the same time more sensitive and responsible.
At their arrival, Nily was welcomed in the "Casa Paccha". There she lived and grew up next to her smaller brother and six other non-biological siblings. She remembers an infinite amount of mischief and games, life in school, and the moments she had to make decisions in order to follow a career.
You could notice her desire to triumph and get ahead in life since she was very young. Her unbroken spirit and her strong will allowed her to study for two years in Costa Rica, where she achieved great merits as an outstanding student.
Today, she celebrates proudly next to her aunt Alicia, her ten siblings and her godmother the great step that she has taken, to graduate with a degree in Education, specializing in Initial and Primary Education at the Andean University of Cuzco. Doubtless, she is a great example for her siblings and all the community of the village.
"Each word, each sentence that my mommy Panchita (lovely nick for Fransisca) said to me I have kept in my heart. It is an unforgettable experience and I will always cherish it in my spirit", Nily remembers. She has many memories of her mom's teachings, the SOS mother who held her in her arms when she arrived at the village.
Certainly, mom Panchita left a deep mark in Nily and her brother's character. Among other things, it was her who taught Nily many of the values and responsibilities that are practiced in the SOS Children's Villages: responsibility, hospitality, solidarity, affection, good conduct, tenacity.
At the moment, Nily is an independent young woman. She works in a daycare centre where she teaches a group of three-year-old children. She puts into practice what she learned in the university classrooms but she also transmits the values and pleasant moments she lived with her family in SOS Children's Village Cuzco.
Ricardo Angulo Nr. 744 Urb. Corpac
Lima 27 (San Isidro)
Postal address: Casilla 4206
Tel: +51/ 1/ 224 0859, +51/ 1/ 224 1083
Fax: +51 /1/ 224 2564