LIMA – The largest donation ever made in the history of Peru, of 126.3 million soles (about $36 million), is being distributed among thousands of families from the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the country who are severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The donation was raised during the #YoMeSumo (#IJoin) campaign, promoted by the Credit Bank of Peru (BCP), the largest and oldest in the country, which collected contributions from 73,000 companies and individuals for a total fund of 126,328,717 soles.
This figure is 10 times higher than that collected each year with events such as the Telethon – a popular television marathon for child support – and it was collected in just three weeks, as soon as the state of emergency was declared and the serious economic problems that the situation would bring to tens of thousands of citizens was highlighted.
The bank started the campaign with a direct donation of 100 million soles (about $28.5 million), aware that the situation generated by COVID-19 would bring “complex times to come” that, as a company, “forced them to act to try to change the situation,” said BCP reputation and social responsibility manager Silvia Noriega.
“In the context of quarantine, the majority of families in poverty and extreme poverty cannot go out to work and do not receive income, which complicates things greatly. And that is why from the beginning we coordinated with the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS) to give us a list of beneficiaries in extreme poverty,” said Noriega.
Through the bank’s offices spread throughout Peru, families that fall under the MIDIS evaluations of poverty and extreme poverty and that did not receive money from other public aid funds promoted by the government became creditors to receive a “supplement” of 760 soles (about $218).
“The idea was precisely to be complementary, to reach more people. The goal is 160,000 families, and as of today we have reached 129,383, who have already received their contribution,” said Noriega.
Given the magnitude of the donation, an amount is also being dedicated to buying masks, alcohol and other personal protection equipment that will be donated to police and military personnel who patrol the streets of the country to monitor curfew compliance and the mandatory isolation orders that have been put in place for 67 days.
“It is personnel who risk their lives to care for those of us at home, and this material will be distributed to those who risk being infected,” added Noriega.
The collaboration in this initiative among citizens, companies and the state shows, in Noriega’s opinion, that everyone in Peru is coming together to get out of the crisis.
“We as a bank feel the pressure that something had to be done and we had to help, not only the state. Many other companies and individuals are also joining similar initiatives, because it is called for,” she said.
She added that these are “donations that are made in a positive way, because they are relevant” and that the BCP does not “benefit from it, they are not tax deductible.”
“But we are happy with what is being done and it is very satisfactory. It is solidarity and the attitude that will get us out of this crisis,” she said.