Lima Peru

Lima Peru

Lima, Peru is the capital city of the South American country. Lima, Peru - a large urban center along the Pacific Corridor of Peru - holds many factories, beach resorts, and bank towers.

Peru Coastal Region

The Location


The Population


The Religion

Roman Catholic

The Weather

  • Children in the Compassion program of coastal Peru gather at their church. Their smiles are courtesy of Compassion’s generous supporters, who offer hope where little existed before. Peru Children Waving
  • This family of squatters set up camp on the outskirts of Lima. The sandy terrain limits the amount of food the family may grow. Malnutrition is a constant concern. Peru Woman and Children Overlooking the City
  • Precarious living conditions keep squatter families in constant fear of earthquakes. The rocks that support the house would likely give way during even a small tremor. Peru Woman and Child Outside of Their Home on a Hill
  • This is a typical house in the northern coastal region of Peru, built from leaves and mud. Peru Woman and Children Outside of Their Home
  • Samuel Vega helps coordinate Compassion’s work in coastal Peru. Samuel has served as a facilitator since 1990. Such dedication is common among Compassion’s workers. Peru Partnership Facilitator Samuel Vega
  • This family built a house from materials most people throw away. Peru Woman and Child Near Home

Overview: Coastal Peru

More than half of Peru’s 30 million people live on the Pacific Ocean corridor. No fewer than five major urban centers are staggered along this 1,500-mile strip of arid coastland. Over the past few decades, millions of Peruvian peasants, desperate for work, have flocked to these cities. The coastal cities of Trujillo, Arequipa and Lima, in particular — with their factories, beach resorts, and gleaming bank towers — remain magnets for the rural poor.

Lima, the capital, has been dramatically altered by this migrant influx. Rapidly growing pueblos jovenes or “young towns” — vast slums that stretch for miles on rockslide-prone hills on the city’s perimeter — have become home for millions of indigenous Quechua and Aymara peasants who sold their belongings to get to the city. Most arrive with little more than dreams of a better life.

The growing population has spurred an increased demand for social services and competition for limited employment. It has also created a rich cultural environment on the once strictly Catholic, Spanish-speaking Peruvian coast. Today it is not uncommon to witness multi-ethnic festivals, Incan-influenced music, and cultural clubs that function as homes away from home for migrant families.

The Peruvian coast is still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating 2007 earthquake. The 8.0-magnitude quake, centered near the port city of Chincha Alta, 95 miles southeast of Lima, killed more than 500, injured 1,100, and left tens of thousands homeless. Earthquakes are a common occurrence on the Peruvian coast, which is situated in one of the world’s seismically active regions. The 2007 quake destroyed hundreds of schools and leveled churches and homes in the Peruvian provinces of Ica, Lima and Huancavelica.


Culture Corner

Peru Culture


(serves 4)

Meat and potatoes are the center of a Peruvian diet. Here is a classic dish you can try at home.


  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • ½ tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut in small chunks
  • 2 medium onions, sliced in big pieces
  • 2 red tomatoes, sliced in small pieces
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 4 portions of prepared french fries


Heat the oil in a frying pan and then fry the garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the tenderloin and sauté until well cooked.

Combine the onions and tomatoes with salt, pepper and vinegar.

Stir tomato-vinegar mixture into meat, and cover for 1 minute. Uncover and stir again, adding the cooked french fries until well mixed (30 seconds at most).

Serve immediately.


Life in Coastal Peru

The coastal region of Peru, nestled on the Pacific Ocean, is home to 58 percent of the country’s population. The fertile valleys of the north produce cotton, sugarcane, rice and tropical fruits. The groves of the south produce olives and grapes. Employment opportunities in agriculture and other industries bring a steady flow of migrants from the jungle and the highlands. As a result, urban centers in the coastal region – including Lima, the capital, face severe overcrowding.

The divide between the wealthy and poor in these urban centers is staggering. Upper- and middle-class neighborhoods have had running water, sewage systems, electricity, and paved roads for decades. Few such amenities are available to the poorest of the poor, who live in ramshackle shelters built from discarded materials.

Children at Home

Many Compassion-assisted children in this region live in flimsy houses in squatter settlements on rocky hills. Their homes are usually built with whatever materials can be salvaged: cardboard, plywood, cinder block, and sometimes plastic. Rockslides are a constant peril. Typical chores for children in these communities involve babysitting siblings, while parents look for work, and hauling water in jugs up the steep slopes.


Community Issues and Concerns Peru Community

Families who leave the Andean highlands and Amazon jungles for the urban coast abandon their traditional way of life to become taxi drivers, maids, street vendors and huachiman, or night guards, in the city. Others struggle to earn the equivalent of about $1 a day by performing backbreaking labor. Many indigenous families retreat each night to shacks in crowded squatter settlements. These settlements, on abandoned land outside city limits, usually lack police protection and basic city services like clean, running water. Children commonly suffer from waterborne illnesses and malnutrition.

Local Needs and Challenges

Housing for the poor in the urban centers of coastal Peru is abysmal. Hundreds of thousands of families live in squalor in overcrowded slums. Their only protection from the elements is whatever material they can piece together to create four walls and a roof. The employment opportunities that drew most of the people to the urban centers in the first place have long since vanished. And the brutal cycle of poverty continues unabated.


Schools and Education Peru Education

There are no shortages of schools on the Peruvian coast. Almost all children attend either public or private elementary school. In Peru, public education is free, and 93 percent of all adults can read and write. For the poverty-stricken, however, a “free” public education can be cost-prohibitive. The minimal registration fees required by public schools, combined with costs for uniforms, books, school supplies and bus fares, make it impossible for many children to attend. About 17 percent of young people either never attend or drop out of high school.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

In Peru’s coastal communities, Compassion-assisted child development centers are a place of help and hope. They provide registered children a safe haven to learn and thrive beyond the crowded slums and city streets. Here, children have access to clean water, health care, and meals while learning that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.


Working Through the Local Church

Poverty is all but invisible to the wealthy people of Coastal Peru. They choose to ignore the suffering all around them. Compassion is partnering with local churches in the urban centers of the coast to make sure that impoverished families do not fall through the cracks of Peruvian society.

Working through local churches, Compassion offers a safe environment for children who live in dangerous urban surroundings. Compassion centers provide meals and classroom instruction for children whose parents cannot afford to feed them or send them to school. These children receive much-needed health care and spiritual training, all thanks to Compassion’s generous supporters.

How Compassion Works in Peru Compassion in Peru

Compassion’s work in Peru began in 1980. Since then, we have established a significant presence throughout the country and have affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of Peruvians. Currently we serve more than 57,700 children in more than 253 child development centers. Compassion partners with local churches and denominations to help Peru’s children most in need rise above their dire circumstances and discover their God-given potential.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators in the coastal region of Peru coordinate Compassion’s programs with local pastors and church leaders. They familiarize workers with Compassion’s specially designed curriculum and teach them to present it in ways that will have maximum impact on the young people in the program.

The facilitators, like everyone involved in Compassion’s ministry, are passionate about their God-given calling to help those who are most at-risk. These men and women look into the depths of poverty and despair and see hope. They work in unimaginably squalid conditions, yet they feel privileged to be able to deliver a simple and amazing message to the people in their care: that God has a plan for each one of them.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for stable job opportunities for families living in squatter communities all along the Peruvian coast.
  • Pray for the health of children living in poverty in Peru.
  • Pray that Compassion center workers can continue to provide a safe, loving environment for the children in their care.