an education and community development initiative of Help One Now – provides quality education to more than 450 children in Iquitos, Perú. It is also a community hub, investing in future generations through education and development.
IQUITOS. Gateway to the Amazon. This city of nearly 600,000 people in the vast Loreto region of Perú, is a mix of both ancient and modern. Isolated and mysterious, there are no roads that lead to Iquitos. One can only arrive by plane or by ferryboat. This is the city in which Help One Now has recently launched a partnership with Kairos Ministries to educate vulnerable children and break cycles of extreme poverty in South America. Iquitos is a growing city, teeming with life, culture and opportunity for some. Yet it is also home to more than it’s share of extreme poverty. Nearly 30% of its population lives in a township called Belén, which lies in the Amazon riverbed, where the land gives way to water more than half the year. Houses are either built on stilts or built to float with the rising river. The land is free because it’s not really land; hence, Belén is home to those on the fringes both economically and socially. Some live there because they have no choice, and some choose to live there to skirt the laws and norms of civil society. Many of these one-room houses are home to large extended families, or even multiple families. Most parents are forced to work long hours to make ends meet, leaving small children at home. All of this mixed with alcohol and isolation is a recipe for abuse, sexual exploitation, and disease.
Nearly 20 years ago the Malpartida family launched Kairos Ministries, which now consists of a church and two schools. Since that time, they have been tirelessly building bridges in their community by providing quality education and care for vulnerable children, and counseling and support for struggling families. Many of the children who attend Kairos schools live in Belén. These children and their families are receiving education—often the first step toward breaking cycles of poverty—and support that would otherwise be out of reach. The two campuses of Colégio Kairos serve nearly 500 students in grades K-12, and they even offer advanced classes such as Accounting, Trigonometry, Chemistry and more. The school is proud to serve “problem kids” with nowhere else to go. And many alumni of Kairos are now bringing their children to the school.
We have now partnered with Kairos school for several years, and our sponsorship program has allowed the two campuses to grow and thrive. Sponsorship has allowed the schools to improve their facilities, services and staff, and aid in the development of a trade school for those transitioning into the next phase of life. We have also begun construction on Kairos Village, a place of rescue and restoration for trafficked or abused women and children in Iquitos. Mercedes has a big vision for the future, and we believe that those dreams can be accomplished if we stand together with her!
Mercedes Malpartida is the director of Kairos Ministires in Iquitos, Peru. Nearly 20 years ago, Noe & Mercedes Malpartida launched Kairos. Since that time, they have been tirelessly building bridges in their community by providing quality education and care for vulnerable children, and counseling and support for struggling families. Kairos and the Malpartida family suffered tragedy a few years ago when Noe, Mercedes’s husband, unexpectedly passed away. Mercedes, a strong and passionate woman, and her son, Willie, have now taken the reins of Kairos Ministries. She is leading well and has a big vision for the future…to provide a safe place for abused women and children.
31.4 million (10.2 million under age of 18)
496,200 sq mi
Year of Independence:
Estimates vary widely from 50,000 to over 500,000
Pop. Living In Poverty:
– 89.6% adult literacy rate
– 97% youth literacy rate
– 75 year life expectancy
– 76,000 people living with AIDS
– 85.3% of population using improved drinking water sources in rural areas
Peruvian women and girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are exploited in sex trafficking in Peru’s urban areas and mining centers, often recruited through deceptive employment offers. Child sex tourism is present in areas such as Cuzco, Lima, and the Peruvian Amazon. (Find the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report for 2015 here:
2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, Peru