Peru: A Meeting with the Afro-Peruvian Community
Prepared by WFWP Peru
WFWP and UPF Peru have had a long relationship with some leaders of the Afro-Peruvian community and Mrs. Faith Jones, president of WFWP Peru felt strongly last year that she really wanted to do more with them. Mrs. Virginia Zegarra Larroche, who works for the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru was appointed as an Ambassador for Peace on February 2017 and also regularly attended meetings of the WFWP.
Recently they got together and planned a visit to El Carmen, the hometown of Mrs. Virginia, where there is a large Afro-Peruvian Community. Finally, on Saturday 14th April a group of members and friends of WFWP Peru led by President Mrs. Faith Jones took the three-hour bus journey down the coast from the capital Lima to meet the Mayor of the town and also speak to a large group of young Afro-Peruvian students who were members of the local Catholic church.
Mrs. Jones introduced the vision of the Federation and the ideal family. She also took the opportunity to apologies to them (as an Englishwoman) for the slavery of the past and also encouraged them to overcome this past history and fulfil their potential as young people with a lot to offer to Peru. At the end of her talk she embraced all the young people. Later in the day they distributed clothing and toys to some of the poorer residents of the town.
The Mayor was very impressed with WFWP and invited them to visit again to work together with him to improve the situation of the families there.
The town of El Carmen was the site of a lot of slavery in the past and although the members could see a very beautiful grand house of an estate owner they were also shown some catacombs where slaves had been held and tortured in the past. It was a sad reminder of this kind of history in Latin America.
In the town of “El Carmen,” only 27% of Afro-Peruvians finished high school and that only 2% finished college. People of African descent in Peru continue disproportionally to suffer from poverty with very limited resources with which to escape it, roughly in the same ways and along the same lines as in its colonial past.
African Descendants in Peru (Afro-Peruvians)
Afro Peruvians are citizens of Peru mostly descended from African slaves who were brought to the Western hemisphere with the arrival of the conquistadors towards the end of the slave trade. Although Afro Peruvians make up about 10% of the population or almost 3 million people, today there are very few Afro Peruvians leading in politics, culture, religion, military, science or economy in Peru, mostly because they lack of equal access to a good education, well paid job opportunities and leading roles in society.