Peru: From The Sierras to the Shanties
Emerita Castro house is situated in the poorest section of Villa el Salvador, a so-called ‘young town’ of 300,000 people hugging the southern edge of Lima, the capital of Peru. It is a shantytown, a mass of simple houses, most of them built by those who live in them. Water is a scarce commodity in the shantytown. Although pipes were installed in the late 1970s, demand has no overwhelmed the system and there are often breakdowns. Peru’s social security system is limited, with previous governments spending only about 5 per cent of their funds on health. The state social security system provides separate medical care for those who are formally employed, and through this programme spends 30 per cent of the health budget on 10 per cent of the population. Emerita’s work in promoting health brought about her involvement in the ‘popular dining rooms’ of the Mothers’ Club.