'As a child I watched my father beat my mother and draw blood,’ says Alicia. ‘When this happened, my brothers and I cried and screamed… but we couldn’t do anything to protect my mother.'
Alicia is one of too many young people in Lima, Peru, whose family life and upbringing was marred by violence and instability.
She talks openly of the emotional trauma of this, and its effects. 'I was a very shy person, yet aggressive,’ says Alicia. ‘I hung out with anyone and yet always wanted to be alone because I felt that others made fun of me and I wanted to beat them.'
Alicia met her husband when she was still a teenager. At first, things were okay, but their relationship was put under extreme pressure when there wasn’t enough money even for the basic necessities. 'When I asked for food, my husband screamed and punched me,' says Alicia.
Tearfund partner Agape works in Lima to provide social, psychological and pastoral support to vulnerable children and teenagers.
I feel happy because I'm learning, and am improving life for my familyAlicia, Peru
Agape staff supported Alicia and her husband to attend a course about tackling domestic violence, and they provided follow-up support – visiting Alicia and her husband.
They also provide advice and counselling around self-esteem, good relationships and ‘home keeping’ skills such as saving and spending money effectively.
'I feel happy because I'm learning, and am improving life for my family,’ says Alicia. ‘Now, I can see how bad our situation was before.'
Alicia is feeling more confident and hopeful for the future, and hopes to start a business to earn more income for her family.
A little history ...
Tearfund has been working in Peru since 1980 and currently has five Peruvian partners. Here are some examples of their work:
Paz y Esperanza (Peace and Hope) fights for human rights and social justice and employs legally qualified people motivated by their faith to advocate for oppressed people, such as indigenous groups. For example, in Apurímac, Paz y Esperanza is helping to secure justice for women who have suffered sexual violence.
Manos Amigas helps impoverished craftspeople from Lima and the Andean highlands improve their livelihoods by training them in product development, fair trade, marketing and protecting the environment.
Shalom is improving living conditions for some of Peru’s poorest people through healthcare, nutrition and job creation programmes. It also helps Peruvians adapt to climate change and prepare and respond to disasters.
Founded by a group of Quechua women concerned about rural poverty, Warmis works with local communities and helps them drive their own development.