PERU: Salesian missionaries educate more than 200 children of farmers at Salesian Center Monte Salvado in Cusco
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Center Monte Salvado in Cusco, a city located in the Peruvian Andes, has an agriculture school that offers education to more than 200 children of local farmers who live in isolation. They bring their children to attend the only secondary school in the area. Half of the students live in the two boarding houses attached to the school.
The Salesian Center is located in a region close to the wilderness, 1,100 meters above sea level, and it sits on 80 hectares of land, not all of which is cultivated because some areas extend on the top of steep slopes.
There is a real family atmosphere among the students. They are in contact with nature and animals. They also learn to create jams and fruit buckets with the values of patience and continuous dedication to see the results of their work. The students are working with orange trees, coffee and cocoa crops, and vegetables, along with chickens, rabbits, cattle and pigs.
The Salesian School faces challenges. It’s not easy to find teachers who will agree to give up the comforts of the city to teach at such a remote location. In addition, because the students’ families are very poor and cannot pay the tuition fees for attendance or room and board, the agricultural school sells animals and products to secure the funding needed to run the school. Being in such a remote poor area away from populated city centers makes selling the products challenging.
The school also lacks electricity from the main power supplies. Salesian missionaries have built a small hydroelectric plant that uses the water from the nearby stream. But when water is scarce during the dry season, the school often lacks the energy supply it needs to operate.
“The Salesian school is operating under difficult and challenging circumstances, but Salesian missionaries continue their work knowing how important it is these youth receive an education,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth are able to gain an education and given back to their families and community.”
Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.
Peru has also been plagued by hunger and disaster. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of children in the country are chronically malnourished. Communities continue to rebuild after an 8.0 earthquake in August 2007 which killed more than 500 people in the central coastal cities of Chincha, Pisco and Ica and injured hundreds more. The quake destroyed close to 60,000 residential and commercial buildings, leveled hundreds of acres of farmland and left countless Peruvians without means of livelihood.
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Salesian Missions – Peru
World Bank – Peru