Living Heart Peru uses its funds for projects that will help to develop self-sustainable initiatives in communities above the Peruvian Sacred Valley. Through working collaboratively alongside the most disadvantaged local people we aim to create a more sustainable long-term solutions. Living Heart Peru is not a hand-out organisation. We empower local children, women and men to help themselves and help others. We operate with integrity and compassion, respecting each community's culture and traditions and aim to keep our projects simple in order to achieve results.
Currently, Living Heart Peru focuses on projects in 3 areas: Education, Health and Nutrition
Living Heart Peru’s aim is for every primary school child to have a full stomach, a pen and paper, and enough energy to benefit from a full and continued education. Living Heart Peru believes that it is through a continued education that the children of the highland communities can gain a foothold on the ladder to a brighter future. We believe that the opportunities a good education brings, can help shatter the vicious circle of poverty and hardship. Living Heart Peru provides community primary schools with discretional basic educational supplies to ensure that every child can attend school for the full scholastic year and receive a basic education. We also provide volunteer teachers to support the local teachers and to teach art, drama and physical recreation activities.
Living Heart Peru’s aim is for every vulnerable child, woman and man to have access to basic medications, regular treatment and a warm set of clothes. Imagine the bone-chilling cold you would feel in the sub-zero temperatures of the Andes with only a simple poncho and traditional sandals made from car tires to clothe you. Living Heart Peru collects new and secondhand clothes and provides regular donations of warm items to the communities. Every little bit really does help – as the children trek down to school in the mornings, the men toil in the fields and the women collect wood or sheep droppings for the fire, they will have an extra layer to wear beneath their traditional clothing to help fight off the biting cold and whistling winds.
In the Andes, basic medicines to treat and prevent escalation of minor illnesses are limited and health centres are often several hours’ walk away. Living Heart provides a basic first aid kit and medical supplies to the school director, for the benefit of the children and the wider community, with instructions on dosage and when to administer each medicine. Living Heart Peru also organizes itinerant medical clinics with the help of local doctors and foreign volunteer doctors and nurses, who bring their own medical supplies. In addition, we are looking to introduce regular dental care within our communities. We also require the school to medicate the children regularly with local anti-parasitical herbs provided by the parents, which are given to the children bi-weekly in the form of infusions. Finally, Living Heart Peru conducts annual weight and height checks to monitor the growth of the children, and track their development.
The huge variations in weather in the highland communities, along with the problems caused by altitude and poor soil, mean that the only crops that can be cultivated are root vegetables – namely, the potato. This constrained diet is further exacerbated by the lost Inca tradition of ‘trueque’ (exchange of goods).
This leads to malnourished children suffering from all manner of problems – low body weight, small for their age, listless, lacking in energy and struggling to stay awake in class. Many of these children also have to walk several hours down the mountain to school every day, nearly always on an empty stomach. Persistent diarrhoea caused by polluted parasitic water supplies compounds their malnutrition. Access to the communities can be very difficult, especially in the rainy season, due to nonexistent or poor road maintenance. Additionally, the language and cultural barrier between these quechua-speaking villages and the spanish-speaking towns further exacerbates the isolation and lack of support for these Peruvian-Andean people.