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Imagine eating only potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Day in, day out.
Living Heart supports more than 2,500 vulnerable children, women and men in the most disadvantaged highland communities of the Sacred Valley.
For centuries, these remote communities have been marginalized and ignored. Living Heart 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 most disadvantaged local people we aim to create a more sustainable, long-term solution.
Living Heart is not a hand-out organisation. We empower local children, women and men to help themselves and help others. We operate with integrity and compassion, using local produce and solutions, keeping it simple to achieve results.
The huge variations in weather in the highland communities, along with the problems caused by altitude and poor soil, mean that the only crops that can be cultivated are root vegetables – namely, 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 Peruvian-Andean people.
Want to know more? Read about our individual projects.
Did You Know …
The Peruvian economy is on the up (10% per annum), but in the remote Andean communities nobody feels the difference. Today 44.5% of Peruvians live below the poverty line, but in the Southern Andes, where Living Heart works, the rate can be as high as 78%.
CIA World Fact Book