Drought spurs devastating migration in Peru

By December 7, 2009

Peru (MNN) — Severe droughts in Peru associated with El Nino spur increased migration from rural areas to cities. 

This year's phenomenon is no different. The water in the mountains of Peru dried up, and with it, sustainable agriculture in the villages. The inability to irrigate created "water refugees," or families with farms that are not viable.

This resulted in an overall shortage of food. In many cases, the men left for jobs in the cities in order to earn enough to provide for their families.

Giannina Posner with Kids Alive Internationa says this migration represents another kind of devastation. "Families are being torn apart because there's no father. The father comes every six months or every three months, IF he comes." 

Kids Alive is reaching out to the at-risk families with the Gospel and job-skills training. "We teach them what God thinks about the family, and also we give them hope for the future.  Sometimes we are not able to change the circumstances here in this world, but we can change the future." 

Take, for example, the Manchay Families Together initiative. Kids Alive launched the program in 2008 to help widowed and abandoned moms. Their children receive healthy meals, medical care, education and Christian training through the Manchay Care Center. 

20 single mothers participate five days a week with job skills training and support so they can start small businesses. They also participate in Bible studies and parenting classes. 

By participating in the Families Together initiative, the family enjoys a healthly lunch together with the other families.

Posner says their work not only brings families back together but also gives them hope for a future. "We are helping them to become self-sufficient and not depend so much on the big cities. We work with them together to help themthinkabout 'what is the best that you can do, as a community?'"

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