Amurtel Peru was started to meet the needs of the people of Paraiso Alto, an impoverished region in Lima, Peru. The area has no running water, sewage system, or access to health facilities. What particularly struck Kristine Richards, the Director of Amurtel Peru, were the needs of women and people with disabilities in the area. Through many years of hard work, Rurapuk and the Machu Picchu Stars projects were born.
The Rurapuk Hot Lunch program provides a hot lunch each weekday to nutritionally at-risk boys and girls, between 5 and 12-years-old. Some of the children in the neighborhood have stunted growth and other medical conditions due to malnutrition. The meals are cooked fresh on the premises each day. The meals are planned on a weekly basis and nutritionally designed for a balanced diet. The Peruvian school system splits the school day in half, so a portion of the kids eat at Rurapuk before school, while the majority visit after their school day ends at noontime. Often, the meal a child enjoys at Rurapuk is his or her only hot meal of the day.
Several days each week, many of the children who participate in the Hot Lunch Program spend additional time at Rurapuk for enthusiastic tutoring in math, reading and writing. The school system in the area only provides 4 hours of schooling each day. Due to the limited class time, many of the students struggle to stay on grade level. Rurapuk’s qualified teachers help the children with their homework and spend hours each week teaching the children new material.
In May of 2013, Rurapuk opened a new daycare program, which started with 15 children. The program is for children between 2 and 4-years-old and will provide early stimulation for 2-year-old children, preschool education for 3 and 4-year-old children and parenting education and counseling for their mothers.
The daycare program is designed to provide services that will support the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of children and parents.
One of the important goals of Rurapuk is to achieve financial self-sustainability, while also creating income opportunities for the women and families in the village. Since 2003, 30 women (mostly single mothers) have participated in the cottage industry of knitting craft items. Current clients include: PeruPuppets USA, Camden Rose and Misha*Puff. Rurapuk’s management arranges orders from customers around the world and handles all of the business details. The women usually knit at home and congregate at Rurapuk several times each week to receive payment for finished products, accept new purchase orders, pick up supplies/raw materials and work with the camaraderie of their neighbors. In addition, Rurapuk operates a clothes-drying service in the winter months, when the high humidity hinders drying clothes outside on lines.