The Monzon Valley in the jungle region of Peru is austere and isolated, yet breathtakingly beautiful. However, the people there live in the vicious grip of the drug trade. Up until very recently, narco-traffickers, or cocaleros, were the authorities in the region, not the Peruvian government.
That is all changing. Since 2013, three police stations have been inaugurated, bringing much needed security and stability to the area. However, locals view the police very warily. A US advisory team is working to change local’s perceptions of law enforcement as a punitive outside force by integrating them into the community in a positive way. They particularly want to forge strong bonds between law enforcement and local youth, as most children had never seen a police officer and had only heard negative things about them from older generations.
Accordingly, police officers are serving as teachers and coaches for after-school educational programs, summer programs, and other types of community outreach. However, the budget for these programs is virtually nonexistent. These efforts will falter without basic supplies, and the hard-earned relationships will be quickly undone.
You can help the children of Monzon have a very different future than past generations by providing basic school supplies to help the Peruvian police continue their outreach.