An image of Peru Where Peru is in the world.

Nearly half of Peru is covered by the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world. The Andes, the world’s second largest mountain range, also runs through the country, parallel with the Pacific Ocean coast.

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Compassion’s work in Peru began in 1985.


Here’s some basic Spanish:

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Chao/ Hasta luego

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The llama is the South American relative of the camel, although doesn’t have a hump.

Many people move to Lima, the capital city, to look for work every year. Because they can’t afford to live inside the city, many poor people reside on the side of hills surrounding the city, in homes made out of any materials they can find.

Living conditions

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29.9 million

More than 60,000 children are currently supported in Peru through Compassion.

For 15 years from 1980, there were two groups of people within Peru at war with each other, tearing the country to pieces. More than 30,000 people died because of the fighting. As a result, there are thousands of poor people who need help.

There is a small group of rich people in Peru but the majority of Peruvians are poor. No government has managed to stop the rich from getting richer and the poor from getting poorer. However, the last few years have seen Peru becoming a richer country.

There are many children living in poverty. Of the 10.2 million children under the age of 18, more than 6.5 million live below the poverty line.

Maria is an outgoing teenager who enjoys life. She is only 15 years old but has already had to cope with the sadness of her mum dying.

“Mum passed away three years ago from colon cancer. Dad has been in prison since I was three years old and my grandma died just before my mum,” Maria tells us. She now lives with one of her older brothers in a small rented room.

Maria’s mum used to help at the Compassion project’s kitchen until she became so ill that she had to be taken to a hospital. Just before her mother passed away, Maria visited her there. “My aunt took me to the hospital to visit my mum and I noticed that she had become so thin. She embraced me and told me the Lord will be always with me and please become a good lady.”

Maria had been praying for her mother´s recovery for a long time and was horrified when, instead of getting better, she died. “I just said to the Lord, ‘Why did you take her away from me’?” Maria became really angry as she felt it was so unfair.

She started to become angry and violent with her friends and family. When she went to the Compassion project she got into fights. The project staff had to work hard to keep the peace and encourage Maria to think through her anger. They prayed with and listened to her, loving her even when she didn’t respond to them.

“I enjoy my time talking with the project ladies who are my good friends,” says Maria. She now feels less angry about her mum dying and has managed to move forward in her life. She talks about how her sponsor helped her too: “They are like a real family to me, someday I would like to meet them.”

Maria has also become a Christian. She looks at the future with hope and says, “I am a new girl and have a new life, thanks to Jesus and the project staff who care about me.”

Pray that the children in the Compassion projects would know just how much God loves them.

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Nuevo Sol

Also known as Sol, meaning ‘sun’ in Spanish.

Compassion has 242 projects in Peru.

How can you encourage your sponsored child?

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Why not write to them and mention some of the facts you’ve found here. Ask them questions about what it’s like to live in Peru.

If you don’t fancy eating guinea pig, why not try this delicious Peruvian rice and milk dessert:

Recipe: Rice and milk dessert

Rice and milk dessert Ingredients (adult help needed)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small piece of orange skin
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  1. Bring four cups of water, the cinnamon stick, orange skin and salt to the boil.
  2. Add the rice and simmer on a low heat until the water evaporates, then add the evaporated milk and sugar.
  3. Stir constantly while letting the mixture boil for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and let boil for five more minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Guinea pigs are eaten as a snack in Peru.

What do you get if you stand between two llamas?

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Information sources: The CIA World Fact Book 2011, Compassion International, Human Development Report, BBC, Wikipedia