"We want the formation of a National Federation of Grassroots Women, to advocate for our rights to access to land, property and housing". Meet Luz Maria Sanchez Hurtado, Executive Director of the Peruvian NGO Estrategia and flag bearer of the community-based organisation Women United for a Better Community.
To date there are no laws in place in Peru, to protect communities, living on the hills in and around Lima, from being evicted. The decision-making process in regard to access to housing and land is male dominated, and local and national authorities used to turn a blind eye to the women's argument that also they have a stake in housing and land issues. That is, until recently…
Some 360,000 families occupy the hills in the vulnerable area of the San Juan de Lurigancho District, the largest in Peru. In Lima alone there are no less than 600 human settlements without land titles. The plots of land where the communities settled down some thirty years ago, are located in the rustic areas out of the city of Lima. Over the years, the communities have improved the area through various internationally funded support programs and community initiatives: water supply and sewage systems were established, retaining walls constructed and stairs built for easier access to the residential areas. Although plots of land in the rustic areas are affordable to the population, the private sector has determined that much of the land on which the communities live are urban land, and hence started requesting high prices for this land, unaffordable to the poor communities. The result of this was constant evictions and the subsequent people's suffering.