Support for Jesuit meal centres in Cusco, Peru

Support for Jesuit meal centres in Cusco, Peru

Given the scarce financial resources of the population, and particularly rural communities' difficulties in providing proper nutrition for their children, it was necessary to reinforce the Jesuits parish meal centres project in the district of Urcos and Huaro, in the Department of Cusco in Peru.
The mission of a Jesuit Parish is to announce the  Word of the Lord and foster sacramental life, in communion with the Universal Church. At the same time, the parishes show their concern 
for the culture of the population they serve. By promoting faith and justice from a regional identity in the Andes they work towards overcoming the situation of poverty and marginalisation created by the location and the historical process of the country. To that end, they implement services for both peasants and town dwellers, particularly for the groups most affected by poverty, such as children and teenagers. They offer them basic needs such as food, to decrease the rates of undernourishment detected in rural areas, as well as to boost their self-esteem, leadership, defence of their rights and awereness of the responsability and duty to play the fullest role in society.

Project location and objectives

The project is located in the Department of Cusco, and covers districts in the province of Quispicanchi, in south-eastern Peru ( 1,100 km south-east of Lima)

The population of the Departmet of Cusco is around 1.3 million, while Quispicanchi has 82,802 habitants.

The objective of these parish meal centres is to offer a balanced diet and thus favour the healthy development of children and teenagers in the Huaro and Urcos districts. With the support of The Friendly Hand, they feed 185 children and teenagers and provide some other services such as :

-Play centre for children from 6 to 12 years: this is an important contribution to their education, as in this region playing is often considered a waste of time.

-Library services, computers ( to do their homework) and learning support for the children and teenagers attending the meal centres.

-Follow-up of health and hygiene: the children and teenagers attending are encouraged to wash their hands and teeth, and their height and weight are recorded regularly.

-Cooperation support: The staff consist of kitchen workers and volunteers, who seek to offer the children a more integrated attention to their needs.

-Specialist tasks: Social work, psychology and legal advice to deal with sometimes complex cases such as the violation of children's right.