Many parts of the world are recovering from Covid, yet Peru has the highest death rate per capita in the world. Peru’s situation is even worse than previously thought. According to an article published June 1 on BBC.com,
“Peru has the highest Covid death rate as a proportion of population in the world, according to the latest data. Its official death toll has more than doubled, after the criteria for recording Covid deaths were changed following a government review.
Before the review, only those with positive Covid tests prior to death were counted as Covid deaths. Following the review, criteria broadened to include those who had a positive test within 60 days of their deaths as well as suspected cases without a positive test.”
But you are making a difference! Your donations are feeding Casa Chapi families, the elderly in Ichupampa receive a hot meal every day because of your generosity, and many of our at-risk kids—primarily the girls—are safe in Casa Chapi Arequipa campuses. The Women and Children’s Community Center is open in Ichupampa, and the Sister Antonia Community Kitchen is about to open in Yanque, all thanks to you.
Despite all the Covid obstacles, Quechua Benefit is still active, thanks to you, and meeting needs of families and villagers in the Colca Valley. These families are part of what is called the “informal economy”—people who must continue working to provide necessities for their families regardless of the risk of becoming sick. They have been economically devastated by the pandemic. Quechua Benefit Peru staff have family who have contracted Covid, and some of our Peruvian friends have also suffered from the virus.
As soon as travel was permitted, Alejandro and the QB Peru staff began delivering monthly supplies of food staples and that continues to this day. New fleece clothing and cellphones were included in subsequent deliveries to make sure students were warm and connected to their teachers. The kids love seeing “Tio Alejandro” every month. He is your representative to these kids and delivers your love along with food and school supplies. All generously provided by you.
Not only has Quechua Benefit provided for Casa Chapi students and families, but we also broadened our reach to the remote villages in the Colca Valley. Your generous donations provided masks, soap, and educational brochures to fight the spread of Covid in these communities. The campaign reached 17,000 people and provided jobs for the women who sewed the masks.
After a year of studying at home, it became evident that many of our students, especially the girls, were not thriving in their homes. In March of 2021, we brought as many older girls as possible back to the girls’ Casa Chapi campus in Arequipa. Many of them had struggled to keep up with lessons due to technology difficulties or the need to help their families. Today the younger girls have been added, and they are in a safe and stable environment where they can continue school and enjoy their friends. Thanks to you, several of our girls are nearing the end of secondary school and are looking forward to experiencing higher education.
In June, eight boys also moved back to the their campus to study in Arequipa. They are grateful to be closer to their teachers and friends.
The good news is that Peru has purchased 32 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine (not all doses have been delivered). In addition, the US has donated 2 million doses of Pfizer. To date 9.4 million doses have been administered. They are currently vaccinating at the rate of 3.4 million doses a month. Peru has a population of 32 million people with 24 million age 18 and older eligible to receive the vaccine.
The next step is to find a way to deliver vaccines to the remote highland communities. This will not be easy or maybe even be possible, but we shudder to think that the new supply of vaccines might not find its way out of the largest cities.
It is our Board of Directors’ stated intent to seek partnerships with the government, private foundations, other international non-profits, and care givers to create a delivery system to the highland communities who are most often either forgotten or simply ignored. Quechua Benefit, with your support, aspires to be the logistics link in the supply chain. These remote alpaca breeding communities are in our hearts and minds every day.