.- An Arizona-based international development organization has announced its expansion into Peru to help impoverished rural families who live near the famous Incan sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
“For the past year, we’ve been looking at South America and planning our expansion,” Tom Egan, president and CEO of Esperança, said Sept. 27. “The need in Peru is great and we’re excited to bring hope to the people.”
Esperança provides volunteer surgical missions, health education, training for community health workers, home building, clean water projects, business expertise, agricultural development, and dental programs. It helps send donated medical equipment and supplies to project sites around the world.
The organization was founded in 1970 by Phoenix attorney Jerry Tupper to help his brother, Franciscan priest Father Luke Tupper, serve the poor in South America.
The organization’s Peruvian expansion will feature a partnership with the Peruvian agency CADEP, based in Cuzco. The agency has 40 years of experience in helping indigenous communities, especially women and children.
Esperança said that the thousands of tourists who visit Machu Picchu each year do not realize the “extreme poverty” of the families who live in hundreds of rural villages in the region. Some villages are so remote they can only be reached by car on drives of eight to 10 hours on winding, treacherous roads.
Many of the region’s families suffer malnourishment, unclean drinking water and poor housing conditions.
“Despite this area being one of the top producers for potatoes, families asked how to plant more fruits and vegetables, so that they would have a well-balanced diet,” Egan said. “We’re looking forward to helping these villages and working directly with CADEP to maximum our efforts.”
In 2012, Esperança served over 100,000 people in four countries. The organization’s website is www.esperanca.org.