Why we exist
The forgotten communities
Despite a high level of economic growth, Arequipa as a city and region in Peru has high inequalities amongst its population. In 2019, studies showed that 29% of families in the Mollebaya district live below the poverty line, whilst Coporaque also remains highly socially and economically vulnerable.
Most of the population of Mollebaya migrated around 25 years ago from other regions and provinces, searching for greater economic opportunities. Although, after many years, most of Mollebaya now has access to basic services like electricity, the community currently lacks access to water and sewage infrastructure.
The main source of work in Machahuaya (Mollebaya) is brick production, a physically demanding and dangerous informal work, for which they receive a minimum income without insurance or securities. Many children find themselves having to take part in this work, missing important time that should be spent on their school work and playing with friends. Other sources of income in the community also stem from informal labour, putting workers and their families in vulnerable situations.
Coporaque, Colca Valley, Peru
Coporaque is a small village in the Colca Valley around 4 hours from Arequipa. Whilst the Colca Canyon is a well-known tourist destination, and many of the local villages receive income from this tourism, Coporaque remains largely forgotten without this economic opportunity. The local population still relies on income from agriculture, working seven days in a physically demanding job with little income.
Many young people migrate to Arequipa hoping for better opportunities, leaving Coporaque without a young generation to develop the community.