Just like last week I shared the letter from the Country Director of Bolivia, this week I’m sharing the letter I received from the Country Director of Peru. All of these letters can also be found on your Compassion account on the profile page for any child you sponsor/correspond with. I have two children in Peru: I sponsor Angeles and correspond with Cristofer.
“Dear Alisa, My name is Cristina Zavala, and I have been the country director of Compassion Peru since 2005. Compassion began ministering in Peru in 1984. We serve around 75,000 children through more than 250 partner churches. We want to open more opportunities this year, growing to serve more than 80,000 children.
My country has a rich history, beautiful places, and warm people, but also extreme poverty, broken families, and vulnerable children. Due to their living conditions and lack of economic resources, children face hard situations of abuse and neglect that erode their self-esteem and sense of belonging. The difference in a sponsored child is mainly the impact of being loved and cared for by people who value and give him or her dignity in a safe environment.
The economic situation works against families and parents, pulling them away from their children when the situation is pressing. They leave their children alone with little protection and supervision. Access to education, medicine, and potable water is still limited in the most impoverished regions of Peru. Some villages don’t have medical centers, or the facilities lack staff. Other areas get water directly from rivers or contaminated water channels. Young people have no opportunity to learn marketable skills, and no dreams of progress and development.
We want to change the situation. We are working to help children improve their reading, writing, and math learning and to learn and develop healthy habits. Little ones who first arrive at the child development center often suffer from malnutrition. We are working with complementary funds to offer filtered and safe water. Together wit hotel church partners, we talk to government institutions to improve medical care centers, and we keep on teaching Christian values and principles. We are also coordinating scholarships with private technical schools and helping young people to study a technical career such as computing, accounting, etc., or to study a major in college.
We also teach leadership courses to outstanding students. One young man who will complete the program this year faced many troubles as a sponsored child. His father is an alcoholic, and his mother did not want to hear a word about God. But this young man found affection, care, and shelter at the center. He had the chance to learn work skills; now he is going to school to study bakery and pastry, and he is also a leader in his church. From being immersed in poverty, he has discovered his great potential, and he now has big dreams. Another young man received a social volunteer entrepreneur honor from the United Nations for organizing teachers to give school tutoring in impoverished parts of Lima.
Children who enjoy a relationship with their sponsors feel the love and care of people who value them and give them dignity and the desire for a different future. Having a sponsor makes children very happy. They think sponsors are relatives who live very far away but send letters that bring them closer. Sponsors’ letters have a high emotional value for children; when they get a letter, they feel they have some physical token from their sponsors. Please write your child as often as you can.
Our partner churches are also ministering to their own communities by creating work opportunities and education and development programs that radically change families’ inappropriate ways of living. Join us in prayer for every church partner that is working hard and doing such an amazing job.
I want to express my gratitude to you for your continued love and support for Angeles and Cristofer. Together we can offer the valuable gift of hope to change the lives of the voiceless and suffering ones.
In Jesus Christ, Cristina Zavala”