PERU: Two new educational buildings launched to provide education and training for Achuar youth
(MissionNewswire) Two new educational buildings were developed to meet the needs of poor youth living in Kuyuntsa, Peru. These buildings were made possible with the support of Don Bosco Mondo in Germany. The education provided ensures that the dreams of Father Bollo, one of the first missionaries in the region, are coming true and giving rise to opportunities for youth from indigenous Achuar communities who would not have otherwise had the opportunity.
Salesian Father Raúl Acuña, director of projects, said, “We have created new opportunities for young people who come to Kuyuntsa to study. From a well, we’ve brought drinking water and we also use solar energy. It is a place to train and study.”
Arriving in Kuyuntsa is not easy. It is a long, difficult journey that requires sacrifices. Fr. Acuña added, “We aim to improve the life of Achuar youth in these indigenous communities through education and the development of their skills. This is why we started cultivating on land, to improve their diet and teach them that one doesn’t need to eat only cassava and bananas. In a short time since educational programs have been in operation, youth have learned to grow rice, corn and beans, and they are planting new trees.”
Attending the inauguration of the new buildings required a few hours journey along the rivers, but several people were in attendance including Salesian Provincial Father Manolo Cayo; Roswitha Maus, project manager with Don Bosco Mondo; Father Diego Clavijo, a local missionary; members of the Provincial social communication team; the Department of Education; and many others.
“These new educational buildings would not have been possible without the support of Don Bosco Mondo, the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, and the Salesian Mission Office of Peru,” said Fr. Acuña.
One of the challenges facing Salesian missionaries in Peru is creating opportunities for youth after they graduate from secondary school but are unable because of finances to pursue further education and training. To address this, Salesian missionaries are providing more technical and vocational training so youth are able to learn a skill and have access to long-term stable work that allows them to provide for their families and give back to their communities.
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