Rurapuk started in 2002 in a one-room shack that could barely support a roof (hardly enough room for the cook, let alone 30 hungry children). The current building was constructed in 2009. It now consists of two floors with approx. 900 square feet on each level. It houses a functional, hygienic kitchen, three bathrooms, two dining/study areas, the day care, a workshop space and an office. The Rurapuk Center finally received running water and sewage service in November 2012. The current plans call for a third floor to be added in 2014, which will house a large meeting room, computer lab and volunteer housing.
Rurapuk is located in the Paraiso Alto settlements, which are set in the sandy, rocky hills that surround the city of Lima. The settlements fall woefully short in essential services, including drinking water, sewage systems, drainage, electricity, health services, schools and recreational activities. Those who live in the upper reaches of the hills find life even harder. Access to necessities becomes treacherous, overcrowding is widespread and most people live in shanties with an extreme lack of services.
Children and teens, ranging from infants to adolescents, represent 60 percent of the total population and are afflicted with a myriad of social and family problems. About 50 percent of children grow up without a father. Many of the mothers work from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., leaving their children with neighbors or juvenile siblings, some as young as 8-years-old for as long as 14 hours each day. Reports of child abuse, school dropouts, early pregnancy and divorce have become all too regular. The entirety of Paraiso Alto is clearly under the poverty level, even by Peruvian standards. What is most abundant here is the need for help.