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Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.

Peru has also been plagued by hunger and disaster. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of children in the country are chronically malnourished.

Salesian missionaries working in Peru have provided life-saving support and education to poor youth and their families through the years. They also helped with rebuilding efforts after the 8.0 earthquake in August 2007, which killed more than 500 people in the central coastal cities of Chincha, Pisco and Ica and injured hundreds more.

More Missions In Peru

Provide technical & vocational training

Each year, more than 120 youth have access to technical skills training thanks to a Salesian training center that opened in Loreto among the Kandozi Indigenous community in San Fernando in the district of Andoas. The Yankuam Jintia Training Center for Intercultural Education was developed by the Don Bosco Foundation to meet the needs of poor youth living in the Peruvian Amazon.

One of the challenges facing Salesian missionaries in Peru is creating opportunities for youth after they graduate from secondary school but are unable because of finances to pursue further education and training. To address this, Salesian missionaries are providing more technical and vocational training so youth are able to learn a skill and have access to long-term stable work that allows them to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

The training center seeks to improve the living conditions of indigenous families of the Achuar, Kandozi, Meztizos and Quechua ethnic groups in the Amazon. Youth are trained to be mechanics for outboard engines, as well as carpentry, agriculture and animal husbandry. Upon completion of a program, they are able to contribute to the development of their communities and to create resources through the provision of services to third parties. Youth reside in the Salesian boarding school and attend the four-month training modules of the Intercultural Education Center.

Rescue children facing adversity

Salesian missionaries at the CETPRO Santo Domingo Savio Technical Center in Lima provide training for young people with disabilities. They have also launched an awareness campaign to bring more attention to the abilities of those living with a disability in the country.  According to the National Council for the Integration of People with Disabilities, about 1.5 million Peruvians have some kind of disability. That means nearly 5 percent of the total population lives with some limitation in moving, seeing, feeling, understanding and communicating.

The CETPRO Center houses hundreds of young people and provides a family home for youth and an oratory that welcomes both boys and girls. The Center works in cooperation with the Don Bosco Foundation of Peru and the Share Campaign of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference to train youth with special educational needs. Through this campaign, several young people with sensory disabilities benefit and are being successfully trained in screen printing and tailoring laboratories.

In addition, in coordination with specialists from the Service of Support and Consultation for the Care of Special Educational Needs (SAANEE), a seminar was organized for all CETPRO students to raise their awareness of the great efforts that their disadvantaged peers put forth to gain an education and how they face and overcome to achieve their goals. All students have been encouraged to show respect, tolerance and a willingness to help their peers who have different skills and to collaborate with them.

Respond to disasters & emergencies

Devastating flooding caused by extreme weather since the start of 2017 has caused landslides in cities across Peru. According to the Associated Press, more than 500,000 people have been affected with thousands left homeless after a series of storms struck the country in the last few weeks. At least 115,000 homes have been destroyed, roadways are impassable and 117 bridges are reportedly washed out.

Peru is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and the effects of intense rains that can cause flooding and landslides in the country. In the city of Piura, the sewer drainage system has been completely destroyed as a result of the flooding. Weather like this, coupled with the destruction of the drainage system, can be a breeding ground for disease and health complications for its residents. Salesian missionaries living and working in Piura, one of the hardest hit areas, are already responding to those who need assistance and are seeking funding to launch a project aimed at providing preventative health information as well as materials and supplies.

Salesian missionaries working at schools and youth centers in the regions near Piura provided close to 900 families with prevention education about these diseases. The information includes the dissemination of key messages that promote basic hygiene practices and the adoption of healthy habits. This work also helped communities strengthen their capacities to adopt operational measures to safeguard against dengue, malaria, diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections and dermatological problems, among others. Salesian missionaries also provided food and other basic supplies to families in need.

Provide youth centers & safe activities

Salesian missionaries in Breña, a district within the capital city of Lima, facilitate a project each year known as Sol Bosco. This program provides educational lessons and a safe space for youth to enjoy time with their peers and develop skills and expertise in various disciplines. Youth can access skills training in courses such as guitar, cooking, martial arts, soccer, volleyball, basketball, handicrafts, and traditional and modern dance.

Youth from the Salesian parish of Mary Help of Christians kicked off the program in 2017 by going from house to house in Breña announcing that the program had started. As a result, more than 100 children are registered to participate. The workshops are offered by older youth that are part of the Salesian Youth Movement.

Deliver life-saving meals

Salesian missionaries in Breña, a district within the capital city of Lima, have a provincial house, Salesian College, Superior Institute and Technical Vocational Center, and a house for homeless youth. Missionaries also operate the Mary Help of Christian’s parish, which provides communal meals for the elderly and sick residents of Breña. Every day, from Monday to Friday, people come to enjoy the afternoon meal at the Salesian parish. For some it’s the only meal they have each day.

There are 18 different groups of women that prepare the meal each day. The groups take turns finding the food, often collecting donations door to door, and then preparing and serving the meal. Others come to talk and interact with those who have come to rely on the parish workers for their nutrition. For some volunteers, it’s a chance to give back to their community and to stay busy and connected. Fernando Soto used to accompany his wife, Esther Arce, from house to house to collect food. She has since passed away, but he continues his mission, with the task of running the dining room.

Meals provided to the sick and the elderly improve their health, mood and overall well-being. In addition, people are able to speak with Salesian staff and access other services as well as stay connected within their community.

Improve health services

Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Foundation of Peru launched a free medical, surgical and dentistry clinic in the city of Piura, in the northern part of the country. The free medical and dental assistance began with the help of 14 medical and dental professionals who are part of ULYSSES, a humanitarian organization providing professional medical assistance.

The city of Piura was chosen because it ranked poorly for health conditions and access to medical and dental assistance. The area is the main producer and national exporter of organic bananas, mangoes, lemons, grapes and other products like coffee, but even still, more than 35 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty. The medical clinic was also made possible through support from the Regional Government of Piura, Diresa, the Naval Station of Paita, the City of Paita, the Terminal Port Euroandinos, the Stella Maris Institute of Lima, the Salesian Institute and the Food Bank.

Eighty surgeries were performed during the medical clinic and more than 100 people accessed free dental examinations. Dentists also provided free oral health education to more than 1,000 school children in the region. During the presentations, students received free toothbrushes and toothpaste. Since 2005, Salesian missionaries have been offering similar medical clinics in Peru to improve the quality of life for people.

Offering these free medical and dental clinics is nothing new to Salesian programs. Salesian missionaries offer more than 200 medical clinics and hospitals, mostly in rural areas, that handle a wide range of medical care needs.

Improve infrastructure

Salesian missionaries in Peru run an oratory for more than 300 young children, older youth and mothers from the city of Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, and the surrounding area.

Home to a wealth of history, stunning architecture and Machu Picchu (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), Cusco and the surrounding area is a popular tourist destination. Close to 1.3 million people reside there locally with almost 25 percent of its population under the age of 15. Salesian missionaries are very active in the region through schools, missions, shelters, a nursing home and oratories.

This region of Peru is also home to a successful Salesian agriculture program. Although the area is difficult to access, coffee and cocoa are cultivated in the Yanatile valley and the nearby basin of the river Lacco. The Salesian mission in Quebrada Honda is made up of the parish of Mary Help of Christians and the Experimental School for Agriculture and Livestock which educates more than 160 students, nearly half of whom board at the school.

The goal of the School is to provide young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving towards efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. The School provides both classroom education and hands-on agriculture and livestock training on a working farm on the school campus. Salesian missionaries at the School hope the agriculture degree program will entice more local youth to choose agriculture as their long-term livelihood.


From Peru

From Peru

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in Peru

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