Peru is located in the western part of South America. It borders Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. Nearly 34 million people live in Peru. It is the third largest country in South America, and attracts many visitors to its magnificent natural and historical sites.
However, children and young people growing up here face many challenges. Peru is one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine. Illegal drug trade, murders, domestic violence and corruption are still worrying issues that affect many families.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Peru since 1975.
Around 30% of the population of Peru lives in poverty. Poverty is most prevalent among indigenous communities living in remote rural areas.
One of the main ways in which poverty affects children is malnutrition. Over 13% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished.
Even though Peru is growing economically, anemia and chronic child malnutrition remain major issues. Young children are particularly vulnerable, and their development is affected.
Peru is one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine. Coca leaves are required to produce cocaine.
Demand for cocaine pushes a generation of children into forced child labour for coca farming and a life of crime.
Growing up in this environment increases their chances of staying in the cocaine industry in later life. When grown up, they are 30% more likely to be imprisoned for violent and drug related crimes.
Around 30% of children in Peru experience violence and abuse.
Over the last 20 years, Peru has made significant efforts in the prevention, punishment and eradication of violence.
Unfortunately, the level of violence against children remains very high. Sadly, the most frequent form of violence experienced by Peruvian children is at home, by parents or caregivers.