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Homelessness. Medical emergencies. Natural disaster. Your donation helps children when they need it most..
Peru’s attractions include the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu. Despite a wealth of natural beauty, Peru is home to areas of entrenched poverty and low student achievement scores. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
Teenagers from the highlands of Peru hold their Bibles while walking down a path.
Children eat a nutritious meal at their child development center.
A little girl from the jungles of northern Peru sits and smiles as her dad prepares food over the open fire.
Two boys have fun floating in a boat.
Four children from the jungles of Peru smile at the camera.
A group of children run through their neighborhood with confetti and Peruvian flags.
A teenage girl holds a sign to represent her thankfulness.
A mother hugs her son as he stands on top of the motorbike taxi she drives.
Girls smile while enjoying free time at their child development center.
A boy sits and writes at a wooden desk.
Issue: Though school enrollment in Peru has improved, the quality of education remains low, particularly in the Amazon jungle and mountains. And while public education is free, many families can’t afford the costs required for uniforms, books, school supplies and transportation.
Response: Compassion aims for every assisted child to get a good education. The centers provide support, from tutors to help with homework, to financial assistance for school-related expenses, as needed. Older students also have opportunities to participate in vocational training.
Prayer Point: Pray for children struggling in school — that they get support and motivation to do their best and that their success opens opportunities for their future.
Children receive tutoring and vocational skills training at their Compassion child development centers.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Peru.
Peru is home to Machu Picchu — a mysterious city built high in the mountains by the ancient Incans. Today Machu Picchu is considered one of the seven wonders of the world!
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Official Name: Republic of Peru
Form of Government: Presidential republic
Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Currency: Nuevo sol
Area: 496,224 square miles (1,286,216 square kilometers)
When the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1531, the country's territory was the nucleus of the highly developed Inca civilization. Centered at Cuzco, the Inca Empire extended over a vast region from northern Ecuador to central Chile. In search of Inca wealth, the Spanish explorer, Francisco Pizarro, who arrived in the territory after the Incas had fought a debilitating civil war, conquered the weakened people. The Spanish had captured the Incan capital at Cuzco by 1533 and consolidated their control by 1542. Gold and silver from the Andes enriched the conquerors, and Peru became the principal source of Spanish wealth and power in South America.
Peru's independence movement was led by José de San Martín of Argentina and Simón Bolívar of Venezuela. San Martín proclaimed Peruvian independence from Spain on July 28, 1821. Emancipation was completed in December 1824, when General Antonio Jose de Sucre defeated the Spanish troops at Ayacucho, ending Spanish rule in South America. Spain made futile attempts to regain its former colonies, but in 1879 it finally recognized Peru's independence.
After independence, Peru and its neighbors engaged in intermittent territorial disputes. Following a clash between Peru and Ecuador in 1941, the Rio Protocol sought to establish the boundary between the two countries. In late 1999, the governments of Peru and Chile likewise finally implemented the last outstanding article of their 1929 border agreement.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Peru is rich with Indian art forms, neighborhood theaters and literature, including the world-renowned works of Mario Vargas Llosa. Peruvian opera singer, Juan Diego Flores, who sings in Italy, is known in Peru as the "Successor of Pavarotti."
"Andean Blues" is a beautiful, melancholy style of music about the hardships of the poor and it protests social injustice.
Romantic songs are also popular in Peru. The Marinera and Tondero, romantic songs with lively tunes, are typical of the northern coast.
Festejo is Afro-Peruvian music that has a lively tune in which singers lament the hardships of their ancestors' lives as slaves.
Spanish: Hola (Hello), ¿Cómo está? (How are you?), Bien (Fine), Mucho gusto. (Nice to meet you.), Buenos días. (Good morning.), Buenas tardes. (Good afternoon.), Buenas noches. (Good evening/Good night.)
Sports & Games
Peruvian boys play soccer and girls play volleyball. Surfing, popular among the middle and upper classes, is popular in Lima and on the northern coast of Peru.
Typical Peruvian foods include ceviche (fish and seafood marinated in lemon juice with spices and onions), rice, beef, pork (baked or fried with spices), potatoes, corn and fruit. After potatoes originated in Peru, a wide variety of dishes were made with potatoes throughout the country.
The typical school year runs from April through December. There are private and public schools. Although grades one through 12 are free, public education is not available for many of those living in poverty or those in remote, rural areas.
According to law, all Peruvians have the right to attend school. Therefore, the government has created public schools to provide it to those who are not able to pay high amounts to get an education. But in reality, even public schools require payments for registration fees, uniforms, books, school supplies, bus fares, etc., which make it impossible for many children to attend.
In the Amazon jungle and the high Andean towns, there are few schools and a tremendous lack of teachers. Additionally, many people who are farmers in rural areas do not send their children to school because they are needed to help at the farm or to help their mothers with household chores.
A middle-class family may send their children to attend school and finish a career, but in Peru it is not easy to find jobs. Therefore, many professionals perform simple jobs, such as driving taxis, and the majority of professionals emigrate out of the country.
Peru's Constitution establishes separation of Church and State; however, it recognizes the Catholic Church's role as "an important element in the historical, cultural and moral development of the nation." The constitution specifically prohibits discrimination based on religion; however, the Church is given preferential treatment in education, tax benefits and other areas.
All faiths are free to establish places of worship, train clergy and proselytize. Religious denominations or churches are not required to register with the government or apply for a license.
Conversion from one religion to another is respected and missionaries are allowed to enter the country and proselytize without following any special procedures. Some non-Catholic missionary groups claim that the law discriminates against them by taxing religious materials, including Bibles, that they bring into the country, while the Catholic Church has not been taxed on such items.
The General Education law mandates that all schools, public and private, impart religious education as part of the curriculum throughout the education process (primary and secondary). Catholicism is the only sect of Christianity taught in public schools. Some non-Catholic parochial or secular private schools have been granted exemptions from this requirement. It is mandatory for school authorities to appoint religious education teachers upon individual recommendations and approval by the presiding bishop of the local diocese.
Parents who do not wish their children to participate in the mandatory religion classes must request an exemption in writing from the school principal. Non-Catholics who wish their children to receive a religious education in their own faith are free to organize such classes, at their own expense, during the weekly hour allotted by the school for religious education; however, they must supply their own teacher.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
New Year’s Day: Jan. 1 — a lively celebration with Latin music and firecrackers. Festivities start at midnight and end around 4 or 5 a.m.
Holy Week: March or April — The week before Easter when Peruvians attend church services to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Labor Day: May 1
Independence Day: July 28 and 29 — Parades and a two-week vacation for students.
Christmas: Dec. 25 — In Lima and in all big cities located along the coast, celebrations include a "party of love" or "children's party" on the 24th. Christmas dinner traditionally includes turkey or chicken, baked potatoes, salad and hot chocolate with paneton, an Italian-style fruitcake. In the Andes, people attend a midnight church service to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. On Jan. 6, Peruvians dressed as the three Wise Men bring gifts for the children. Peru's poor economy has limited these traditions to the middle and upper classes.
Visit the Compassion blog to read about Easter in Peru.
Compassion has been working in Peru since 1985. These Peru facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Peru but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Peru facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. Donate to children in Peru!