COVID-19 has played havoc with the Peruvian economy. More than any other country in the region, Peru has seen its economy shrink and unemployment skyrocket.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), overreliance on a few select industries has made Peru’s economy particularly vulnerable. The organization predicts that by the end of 2020, as many as 1.5 million people will have lost their jobs. Wages have fallen too—by 10% in the capital, for instance.

Women in María Cruz and Fundo El Abuelo receive food baskets.

Government measures to offset income loss during the pandemic, such as a monthly family bonus of S/760 (CAD340) and food baskets, reach only a fraction of families in need.

In the impoverished district of José Leonardo Ortiz, Heart-Links’ partner Centro Santa Angela is helping families get through the pandemic.

Participants of Centro Santa Angela’s Leadership School—a project financed by Heart-Links donors—have forged a new partnership with the Peruvian branch of Aldeas Infantiles SOS to bring food and supplies to families in the marginal settlements María Cruz and Fundo El Abuelo.

Residents answer the question, “What would you like to see in your neighbourhood?”

Community members also form part of the partnership. They shared their knowledge of the neighbourhood with Centro Santa Angela’s young leaders and told them what would make it a better place to live: electricity, running water, sewers, paved roads, green spaces, garbage pickup, schools.

Centro Santa Angela will continue to work with María Cruz and Fundo El Abuelo to achieve their goals. And Heart-Links’ will continue to support Centro Santa Angela’s efforts to generate lasting change in these hard-hit communities.