Latest update

Peru has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals have been totally overwhelmed by the number of positive cases, with low supplies and limited beds available for severe cases. A large proportion of the population are informal workers who have faced the difficult decision of staying home and earning no income or going to work and risking contact with the virus.

The nation implemented strict lockdown restrictions in early 2020, and then again in January 2021 during a second wave of the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has begun and case numbers in Peru are dropping.

Our local Peruvian church partners have creatively adapted the way they support children during the pandemic. Most child development centres continue to meet in small groups or through home visits rather than large gatherings. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have distributed more than 1,162,000 food packs and 1,120,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Find out more by watching the latest video update below from our neighbours in Peru.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Peru?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    At this point, many centres in Peru have temporarily paused group gatherings in order to abide by local guidelines. The national staff and church partners are monitoring children and families who are vulnerable due to extreme poverty, possible abuse or health complications. Partner churches are working closely with local authorities to deliver supplies to families and facilitate access to medical care.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Peru, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Peru. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Peru who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for healing for David, who is suffering from a respiratory infection.
  • Pray that God's comfort, strength and peace would be with Stephani and Brisa, who have recently lost their mother.
  • Pray for the health and protection of the children, staff and volunteers as our church partners begin to resume program activities safely.
  • Pray for the success of an initiative created to prevent children under five from developing anaemia.
  • Pray that God would provide all the resources needed to support the children and youth with their post-pandemic educational development.
  • Pray that God would give wisdom and discernment to Compassion Peru’s leadership as they make decisions.
  • Pray for wisdom, courage and strength for Peru’s new government leaders.
  • Pray that God would continue to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and heal those who are ill.
Feeding hungry kids in Peru

Feeding hungry kids in Peru

It’s breakfast time for 14-year-old Nicol and her younger cousins. As they sit at the table, they wonder what they’re going to eat when Nicol sees someone carrying a bag to the house.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in Peru are operating differently to abide by local restrictions and guidelines. Local partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care or by meeting in small groups.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Peru

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 12 visit the Compassion centre three days a week, for two to four hours each day, or on Saturdays.
  • Students aged 12 to 18 attend the centre for two days a week, for three hours a day, or on Saturdays.
  • Students aged 18 and older attend once a week, mostly on Saturday evenings.
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Compassion Program Activities in Peru

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Compassion assisted children in Peru typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. They also attend for a couple of hours after school during the week. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Peru.

8:00am - Breakfast and devotion time. Children are usually given tea served with snacks like eggs, bread or buns.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons where children sing songs and learn Bible stories. When they join the Child Sponsorship Program, children are given a scripture portion. When they are aged six to nine, they are given picture Bibles, at 10 to 13 youth Bibles and from age 14 they receive adult Bibles.

10:30am - Break time where children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch and social time. Children generally receive a meal three days a week. A typical meal includes a dish of vegetable salad, a second dish of meat stew with beans and rice, fruit and a refreshment. Centre cooks are frequently trained to prepare nutritious meals.

1:00pm - Health lessons where children learn practical health and hygiene advice on a range of topics such as the prevention of malaria and HIV.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, children have opportunities to participate in activities such as camping or visiting a museum or cultural show. Students are offered vocational training in silk screening, jewellery-making, baking and buffet preparation. Parents of Compassion assisted children meet once a month to learn about a variety of topics.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Peru

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mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

Over the past few decades, Peru’s poverty rate has dropped significantly. In 2000, 16.7% of the population lived on less than $1.90 per day. This percentage dropped to 3% in 2015. Mining exports have fuelled much of the nation’s economic growth, as world demand for natural resources, such as silver and copper, has increased over previous years; but the nation’s heavy reliance on natural resource exports makes the country vulnerable to shocks in world prices.

However, the percentage of Peruvians living in poverty increased in 2017. This recent turnaround is a worrying development and more than 6.9 million people now live in poverty, most in rural areas. Indigenous people are disproportionately affected.

Children still face many hardships and issues related to poverty. Between a quarter and a third of children aged six to 14 work, sometimes in dangerous conditions in mines or on construction sites. For many families, the choice to send their children to work is made by the confronting reality that an extra daily wage means food on the table. Undernutrition and anaemia are areas of national concern for Peruvian children.

Lack of access to public services, coupled with the fact that rural youth predominantly speak an indigenous language (rather than Spanish), contributes to lower school enrolment of children in Peru’s rural areas. The rate of urbanisation in Peru has continued to increase as youth move to the cities in search of employment.

According to Peruvian anthropologist José Matos Mar, the increase in urbanisation, accompanied by the increase in educated youth from a variety of backgrounds in cities, has led to a reduction in racism and marginalisation based on ethnicity or cultural heritage. But these social stigmas haven’t disappeared entirely. Marginalisation still persists based on education level, poverty, gender and indigenous background. As a result, when rural youth migrate to Peru’s cities, they are increasingly unable to find work in the formal labour sector and resort to employment in the informal sector, where monitoring of work conditions and wages is likely to remain low.

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02 May, 2019

"My heart was divided in two": How Teolina Escaped Child Labour

Should she help her mother put food on the table, or chase her dream of becoming an architect? When 16-year-old Teolina in Peru faced an impossible choice, the local church was there to help her find her way... Read more

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