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Peru

We have worked in Peru since 1984, helping some 5,700 children with 15 projects. The work focuses mainly on combating poverty, supporting children in need, and safeguarding their rights.

Peru

Against child labour and damage to the environment

In recent years, Peru has experienced an enormous economic upswing, but this growth has only benefited a fraction of the population. Social inequality is high and children and young people from rural and indigenous groups in particular are socially disadvantaged.

As in most Latin American countries, Peru is affected by poverty and gross inequality between the different segments of the population. As the country’s education system is in a poor state, With very limited job and economic opportunities, Peruvians are often caught in a cycle of poverty. The indigenous population face language barriers and is particularly vulnerable: children who grow up speaking an indigenous language are generally disadvantaged starting at a young age and, for the most part, they suffer from health problems.

The challenges

Almost one-third of the 29 million people, who call this South American country home, live below the poverty line. This is a breeding ground for criminality, violence, prostitution, and drug abuse. Peru suffers from extensive pollution in its mining regions. Lead poisoning is a frequent occurrence. Not surprisingly, the cancer rate is very high.

Margarita is playing with her little brother in the fields. (Source: Christian Herrmanny)
Children have too little opportunities to play.

Peru’s education system is ineffective. Although progress has been made over the past 20 years, the overall education level remains low. Teachers tend to be poorly trained and educational resources are generally insufficient. Many children have to leave school early or temporarily to provide for their families. Indigenous children, who speak Spanish as a second language, are facing additional challenges. Bilingual classes, while required be the law, are frequently unavailable. This means non-Spanish speaking children are quickly left behind.

Peruvian children fall victim to widespread violence, neglect, and exploitation. Drug abuse is rampant. Government programs for people with disabilities are in short supply. Social problems like these contribute to the rise of street gangs.

The lack of adequate healthcare facilities primarily affects children: many suffer from diarrhoea, anaemia, respiratory illnesses, and malnutrition.

  • Our work in the country

    Our work in Peru seeks to improve the dire situation of children and their families. We primarily focus on boys and girls engaged in child labour and on children with disabilities. With strategic advocacy work, our partners actively work towards enhancing the population’s awareness of children’s rights.

    Many families in Peru depend on their children to support them financially. One objective of our work is to improve working conditions for these children. We help children to calculate prices better and to secure more income, which in turn allows them to resume their school education.

    With our support, children and young people in Peru are taking a stance against the severe pollution in their country. With advocacy work and a radio station, young people are actively promoting a clean environment and better living conditions.

    Child abuse is part of everyday life in Peru. In many cases, it is the parents who beat and neglect their children. Our projects offer boys and girls, who are victims of violence, medical care. The projects also raise the parents’ awareness of good child rearing practices.

    Additionally, we launched special support programmes for disabled children and their families. In the communities, volunteers are trained to work as therapists and help families with their children. This means that the entire community is involved in a project that aims to increase acceptance of children with disabilities and their families.

  • Key figures on Peru

    • 30 million people live in Peru
    • 38 % of children between the ages of five and 14 have to work
    • 2 % of all children die before reaching the age of one
    • 14,6 % of children under the age of five are underweight
    • 9,5 % of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

Peru: Early education for children

Peru: Early education for children

In Huancavelica, violence and neglect are common occurrences. Our project cares for 1,500 children with the aim of improving their physical and mental health and defending their rights.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize children’s rights.

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting 1.8 million children in 29 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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