Living Heart Peru
managed by Living Heart Peru A.
Imagine eating only potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Day in, day out.
Founded in August 2007 by Sonia Newhouse, Living Heart Peru is a not-for-profit organisation, registered both in the UK and Peru, struggling to reduce malnutrition and family violence by supporting more than 2,500 vulnerable children, women and men in the most disadvantaged highland communities above the Sacred Valley, Peru.
The huge variations in weather, along with the problems caused by altitude and poor soil, mean that the only crop that can be cultivated in these communities is the potato. This constrained diet is further exacerbated by the lost Inca tradition of ‘trueque’ (exchange of goods).
This leads to malnourished children suffering from all manner of problems – low body weight, small for their age, listless, lacking in energy and struggling to stay awake in class. Many of these children also have to walk several hours down the mountain to school every day, nearly always on an empty stomach. Persistent diarrhoea caused by polluted parasitic water supplies compounds their malnutrition.
Access to the communities can be very difficult, especially in the rainy season, due to nonexistent or poor road maintenance. Additionally, the language and cultural barrier between these Quechua-speaking villages and the Spanish-speaking towns further exacerbates the isolation and lack of support for these people.
For centuries, these remote communities have been marginalized and ignored. Living Heart Peru advocates the right of every child to health, education and a brighter future. Our aim is to develop holistic, sustainable projects that work together with the community in the areas of Nutrition, Health, Education and Sustainable Agriculture. Through working collaboratively alongside the local people we aim to create a more sustainable, long-term solution. Living Heart Peru is not a hand-out organisation. We empower local children, women and men to help themselves and help others.