Psychological aid is mostly unatainable for people living in South American slums, although it is most urgently needed. Young people belong to gangs and often use drugs. Their parents do not know how to deal with them and react with violence. In that environment of domestic violence most often a history of civil wars plays an important role.
In 1995 the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Leuven set up a cooperation with the University of Lima, Peru. Graduates went to Peru for internships. Among them a Flemish woman, Liesbet Willems. Se went to Ayacucho, the home of the Sendero Luminoso movement. In 2008 she decided to go back and work with homeless children, victims of domestic violence, probably as a consequence of the traumas inflicted to their parents by the extreme violence they lived in during the civil wars.
Social workers and psychologist continue her work in Ayacucho and Liesbet moved to Lima to work with the people of Villa El Salvador, an extremely poor district of Lima where from the 70ies onwards ten thousands moved in from the countryside in hope of a better future. She set up the ngo Padma who receives financial support from Belgium through the VZW Suyana –which means “hope” in the local Quetchua language. The ngo Padma offers besides psychological assistance a day care center, a home for abandoned children, schooling for local psychologists, kitchens for the poor, emergency homes, etc. Both partners also set up the social organisation Puriy –which means “road” in Quetchua. Puriy enables women in Villa El Salvador, who are often victims of domestic violence, to learn a trade and earn an income so that they have some money of their own to spend on themselves or on their childeren.
You can support Suyana Peru and Padma Peru by buying their handmade products of course, but donations or volunteer work is also welcome.
For all information: www.padmaperu.com