The State of Huancavelica is one of the poorest regions in Peru. Most of the inhabitants in this region live under the extreme poverty line, many of them are children. The region has minimal medical, educational, transportation and urban infrastructure. There is no potable water or sewer system. For many, the nearest medical center is over a hundred miles away.
Since 2009, we have cumulatively attended,
in 11 towns, a total of 20,000 people – of which about 9,000
were children 17 years of age or younger.
The locals are hard working people but employment options are extremely limited. Most people are engaged in small-scale farming and animal husbandry. They don't have healthcare and they don't receive government assistance because the government's infrastructure is lacking. If someone needs surgery or treatment for a serious disease they must travel to Lima, which is often not possible due to economic conditions, distance and lack of transportation.
Their culture is based on tradition, very family oriented with the central head figure consisting of the father and mother. Their music is highly traditional as well as their dance, perhaps the most traditional in all of Peru. They speak Spanish and Quechua (Inca native language), which is very strongly linked to their culture and traditions. The Andean people have been able to survive for centuries with hardly any help from the central government in Lima. They are hard working and proud people who live a very simple life. They are very isolated from Lima due to the minimal infrastructure. Since the population is not as high in these towns, the politicians do not pay any attention to them except during their campaigns. They are decendants of the Inca race and culture and identify very strongly with it. Their religion is Catholic with a strong sense of local culture. The majority of the population in this region have an income level below the extreme poverty level. Those that reside in Castrovirreyna and work have an income that is somewhat higher, still way below poverty level.
No potable water, no sewers or bathrooms, minimally equipped schools, no internet, only one basic small hospital in the region, inadequate road systems and no heat.
In these districts and annexes there is no actual plumbing. In some cases they have redirected the streams to the towns, but without purifying the water or installing sewer systems. Disease and malnutrition is very common.
The public school system includes an elementary school, high school, and a technical school but with limited facilities located in only the capital of the province. This location is out of reach for many of these towns. All of these schools are minimally equipped, the students have no computers or books and have insufficient school supplies. Teachers are neither well trained, nor well educated. In most towns, the schools have no bathrooms – only latrines.
Road infrastructure is minimal with largely unpaved, winding mountain roads. During the rainy season, some of these towns become isolated due to mud slides.