On February 3rd, 1985, Saint John Paul II visited Ayacucho in the highlands of south-central Peru, and urged leftist rebels to lay down their weapons and convert ”to the cause of reconciliation and peace.”
He told cheering crowds at the heavily guarded airport at Ayacucho:
I beg you with pain in my heart, and at the same time with firmness and hope, that you reflect over the roads you have chosen. Violence is not a means of construction.
In Peru you are presented with a task that cannot be postponed – work through non-violent means to re-establish justice in human, social, economic and political relations.
Before leaving, the Pope left a donation of $ 50,000 for the orphans of war; with these funds the John Paul II Orphanage Homes were created. AEA was founded on November 29th, 1985 because of the need for funding to maintain the John Paul II Orphanage Homes