Carlos Jaramillo


"Beyond Bars"

Help Peru, Inc.





“Surrender To Christ” is painted on the hill that overlooks Lurigancho, a Peruvian prison in Lima. The white words beckon to both the inmates inside and the civilians outside to find the path to righteousness. In this work, I wanted to blur the lines between society and life inside the prison. Despite the walls and chain-link fences, relationships remain and run deep.

Civilians build their homes illegally on the hills surrounding the prison, named “el cerro”. Over time, the clusters of illegal homes and streets have forced the government to acknowledge their homes as legal properties. They build shacks and work together to break down the rocks to help create their own roads and paths. Everyday the residents overlook life inside the prison. Dogs can be found roaming inside and outside the prison, and it’s illegal to kill any street animal. One of the dogs photographed is a Peruvian Hairless Dog, which is from the pre-Incan cultures. To me this dog represents the historical legacy of Peru. Life as a street dog here is tough, similar to life in el cerro and Lurigancho.

In Lurigancho, inmates do not wear uniforms, making it difficult to distinguish between civilians and the inmates themselves. Inside the prison, inmates are allowed to roam freely if they do not have scheduled activities for the day, making the prison feel like a residential campus. There are recreational activities, jobs, church services, and educational classes. Inmates often become religious while incarcerated. I explored church services while inside the prison and left with more questions: Why does it take being sent to prison in order for men to find religion? Are they bored, is it genuine, or are they truly lost souls looking for answers?


Help Peru, Inc.

Help Peru has impacted underserved Peruvians since its founding in 2013, New York, U.S.A. Our foundation is devoted to improving their access to education and healthcare, empowering women, and protecting the environment. To promote a culture of philanthropy among Peruvians, we foster social and environmental entrepreneurship awarding grants to local organizations having an impact on Peruvian communities. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we ramped up our efforts to help devastated populations all over Peru. We provide oxygen concentrators,  health supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), food, and educational resources for how to prevent and react to the coronavirus in multiple native languages.