Peru – Community programs

The local community learn reflexology at the Rurapuk Center

Rurapuk means “people who help each other” in Quechua, the language of the ancient Incas.  The Rurapuk Project is run by AMURTEL in Lima, Peru. It is located in an area of Lima called Paraiso Alto, which is in a zone of extreme poverty.  In Paraiso Alto, there is no running water or sewerage system and most of the people live in one-room shacks with dirt floors.  The center of the Rurapuk Project houses the Rurapuk Hot Lunch Program which serves a free hot lunch to 30 children and 2 elderly ladies five days a week.  It also is the meeting place for Rurapuk Mothers, a women’s handicrafts collective.

The newest program of the Rurapuk Center is the formation of a group of therapists who will treat and cure the local people of common conditions such as colds, digestive disorders, joint pain, and stress related issues.  The primary form of treatment will be reflexology, accompanied by treatment with local medicinal plants, and diet therapy.

Doctor Mirtha Acosta, Peru’s best reflexologist, and Doctor Martin Corbacho, a local homeopathic physician, have just finished teaching the first series of classes.  Eight participants have finished the series.  In the last class, Doctor Mirtha asked the students if they had been practicing, and what results they had seen.  Señora Julia described how she had cured her son’s cold.  The youngest participant, 12 year old Karla, explained how she had cured her mother’s headaches.

Alicia Semanario, project participant, summed up the project: “We chose reflexology because it is low cost, low tech, and cures.  We want to use medicinal plants because Peru has an abundance of them and they are accepted as part of our culture and history.  Good healthy food is important for everyone.  What you eat is what you become.  Our purpose is to make a team of therapists who can cure simple fevers and pains because the people in Paraiso don’t have money to buy medicine or see a doctor.”

Face painting brightens up the day at the Rurapuk Center

Today, Rurapuk Stars, is employing six hearing disabled women and one non-disabled woman, who is our designer and the creator of the first dolls. These women are working full-time at a fair wage to make hand-made ethnic Peruvian dolls. The hearing-disabled women are talented, sincere, hard working, and have a refined sense of art and esthetics. It has been our experience that, with patience and proper guidance, they do higher quality work than non-disabled people.

For more information on AMURTEL’s work in Peru please visit |