Peru is going through a complicated social and economic crisis, in a climate of political instability and deep social inequalities.
These include a lack of education and, above all, violence against women, which is the result of a society that is still very much marked by machismo.
The Daughters of Charity arrived in the Awajun district of Peru in 1992. The community runs a nursery, primary and secondary school "Institución Educativa San Vicente de Paúl" and carries out pastoral work in 6 of the 18 villages that make up Awajun. They also accompany the branches of the Vincentian Family AIC, AMM and Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY).
The Awajún people are the second largest indigenous people in Peru, with a strong commitment to the defence of their ancestral territory.
The standard of living of the population is unfortunately very low. The average daily income is 30 soles (€7.68) per household. Jobs are rarely stable and the majority of families have precarious activities in the fields during the sowing and harvesting of coffee, cocoa and/or rice.
"With the pandemic and the war between Ukraine and Russia increasing the cost of living, rural communities have become poorer, children are hungry, especially those who do not go to school, and therefore do not receive the food provided by the state to educational institutions."
Women are the victims of poverty coupled with the machismo rooted in the country's culture. Domestic violence is unfortunately widespread, a consequence of the over-consumption of alcohol.
The Daughters of Charity, in collaboration with the Vincentian association AIC in Peru, want to offer training to these women victims of domestic violence.
This will enable them to create an income-generating micro-enterprise and thus free them from the clutches of their aggressors and from their violent daily lives.
Workshops at the Community Promotion Centre will be offered to them in order to acquire skills in the areas of:
« This practical training will be complemented by support in running a micro-enterprise and by conferences and workshops on self-esteem and personal development, which are particularly necessary for their reconstruction. »
In order to carry out this project, the Centre needs to equip itself with machinery and purchase the materials necessary for the practical training of these women.
The existing one is currently borrowed, deteriorated or obsolete and in insufficient quantity.
An initial group of around 20 women have been successfully empowered through 'test' training workshops conducted in early 2022.
"Our ambition is to finance the training of 45 new women victims of violence over the year 2023."
The women beneficiaries of the first promotion are invited to testify to other women victims of abuse and domestic violence in their environment. A presentation of the project will also be broadcast on local radio stations, television and social networks, in particular in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, to raise awareness of the project.
Sister Aurelia Cerdán Huamán and Sister Alicia Vidal Quijano will monitor the project. 3 paid teachers will provide the practical courses and 6 volunteers from the AIC association will be present to carry out the objectives.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment Promotion is committed to accompanying these women in the management of their micro-businesses after their practical training through a new "Employment Centre" programme.
The municipality of Awajún sees this project as an opportunity for change for these women who are living in difficult situations in their homes. It has committed to offering them participation in the "De la Chacra a la Olla" fairs to sell their products.
« While we worry about building bridges and roads, we neglect direct attention to people. This project is a good example for the benefit of women and their retraining. »
Mr. Santos Nehemías Monteza Mera, mayor of the city
A huge THANK YOU for your support
thanks to you, these women in danger are about to change their lives!
I am Sister Aurelia, Daughter of Charity of Saint Vicent de Paul with 39 years of vocation in the service of the poor and the most needy.
I am currently engaged in social pastoral work in the district of Awajun, province of La Rioja, region of San Martin in Peru. There I accompany two branches of the Vincentian Family: the International Association of Charities (AIC) and the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM).
I am part of the "TAMAR" project which aims to prevent physical, psychological and sexual violence against children, adolescents and women in the educational community of Awajún through a training programme. The project is run by the AIC volunteer group "San Vicente de Paul", which is mainly composed of teachers from the schools in Awajún. My role is to advise and accompany the project and the volunteers.
In the community - pastoral centre "Virgen Milagrosa", I live with two other sisters. One of them is the headmistress of the San Vicente de Paul school and the other is a pre-school teacher with 3 year olds. In addition, we do catechesis for children and adults in the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Awajun.