Background to Peru Children's Charity
Michael Murphy, who worked as a civil engineer and self-employed business man, always dreamt of going to the Third World to carry out volunteer work. In 2004 the opportunity presented itself when he went to Lima to see if he could be of service to some poor community.
He met a nun, Sr. Noemi from Mexico, who was working with a poor community in Las Lomas de Carabayllo; she told him she had lots of work for him if he was available.
All the projects are undertaken on a partnership basis, either a community in partnership with the charity, or a family in partnership with the charity. Partnership and empowerment are a key focus of Peru Children’s Charity.
The projects completed in the recent past include ‘Family Support Centres’ in partnership with a community, Community Dining rooms also in partnership with each community. In these Dining rooms families come together and cook the main meal of the day and share the cost and everyone takes turns at the cooking. Small starter homes in partnership with poor families have also been completed, the charity supplies the material and the family supply the labour, usually with the help of friends and neighbours.
Poor children are also helped with medical needs e.g. epilepsy treatment, medical expenses, school uniforms and equipment, many children receive a good meal daily, supplied by the Charity.
Las Lomas de Carabayllo is a very poor community in the foothills of the Andes about 15 miles north of Lima. There are over two million people living in shanty towns on the outskirts of Lima. Currently there are approximately fifty thousand people living in the particular area in which Michael works. Approximately 70% of these families are one parent families. Usually the father is absent
The area is barren desert and has little or no services or infrastructure such as water, roads or sewage. Electricity is available in some areas only. Water is supplied by a tanker which delivers water twice a week to residents who have a barrel to hold the water, and have the money to pay for it.
Most of the dwellings where these poor families live are made of woven bamboo and plastic. Some are built with mud bricks and a smaller percentage with red bricks.
There is no infrastructure as we would know it except for the school which is used for primary school children in the mornings and secondary school students in the afternoons.
Employment and The Economy
Unemployment in the area is high, up to 40% in some places. The main source of employment for men in the area is working in construction in the city, which is 15 miles away. For women the main source of employment is recycling and washing clothes. A smaller number travel to the city each day to work as domestic staff in houses in the wealthier areas. A small number of men and women are also involved in selling various products on street corners and at road intersections in the city, sometimes with their children. The average wage per week is for women between 75 to 100 Soles (19-25 Euros) and for men between 100 and 150 Soles (25-37 Euro) Two hundred Soles per week is necessary to give a basic standard of living to an average family. There is no social welfare of any kind available in Peru.