November 23

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Lima – Ciudad Intervención (City intervention)

 

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This was the name of interactive exposition held some time ago in Miraflores municipality building. Every visitor could write a text on a post-it card and stick it to the map of Lima drawn on the hall walls. These messages usually indicated the place where something had occurred (“I fell in love in this park”, “I lost the wallet here”), warnings (“dangerous area, here I was robbed”, “terrible traffic on that road”) or some suggestions (“there should be a monument of … in this place”), but also cheerful notes (“my aunt lives in that house!”). Never mind how concerned those messages were, that exhibition gave a nice overview of citizen and tourists needs and worries.

Lima is a huge urban organism with around 9 million people and still growing. Most part of the districts is composed of precarious houses cobbled together and just recently equipped with electricity and sewage. However, some newly built  still cannot count on those basic facilities nor a decent paved street. As opposed to the wealth districts such as Miraflores or San Isidro located at the sea levels close to the coast side, there are abundant Lima hills invaded with creeping houses. This is a vast and super populated area (e.g. San Juan de Lurigancho is the most populated district in whole South America!) where interventions of Save the Children programs are highly desired.  To name just a few regions of its interest: San Juan de Miraflores, La Victoria or Villa El Salvador where Arriba project has been completed.

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San Cristobal hill in the Lima centre

Some time ago I had an opportunity to accompany two Swedish journalists who came a long way to portray several children stories in Lima. One is about Almendra, a 16 year old who is a school mayor and a mayor of all schools in San Juan de Miraflores (not to be mistaken with Miraflores itself) municipality. Second about Fabian, the same age who lived for some time on the street until he got to the foster house of Generaciones (Generations – organization that supports and protects children living on the streets – for those knowing Spanish there is a nice movie about it here ). At first sight two quite different backgrounds, but both children are deprived of the privileges wealthier layers of society have. So that they have to work and learn hard to get a quality education and make their future plans come true.  Another visit was paid to Mercado de frutas, a huge fruit market with numerous stands wholesaling variety of crops, where adolescents work transporting goods picked from the trucks. A time ago they associated to prevent work exploitation they had been especially vulnerable to. Ato Colibrí is an organization fighting for their rights such as decent pay and work conditions e.g. limiting the working hours and goods load they can lift and transport. All those stories above are to appear in the next edition of “Barn”, a magazine of Save the Children Sweden.

Not so long time after, another nice recognition of Save the Children Peru work took place. One of the visit points of Save the Children CEO Jasmine Whithbread who participated in Lima in some of the events organized by the International Monetary Fund and the World Economic Forum during IMF/WBG annual meeting was a presentation and lunch in MNNATSOP office.  MNNATSOP (Movimiento Nacional de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Trabajadores del Perú) is National Working Children Movement, a partner of SC who promotes the defense and execution of childrens´ rights. Another stops of this visit were several schools in San Juan de Miraflores districts with not so much activity that time, as it fell on the festive day.

There is something with a particular attention related to all the above activities – child labour is a fact of life in Peru. Fabian still works on weekends playing music in buses as in his “previous life”, supporting his family with most of the money he earns. Almendra doesn´t, having in mind strict child labor definition, but she has a kind of business with two of her friends, selling customized t-shirts. This is a part of promotion of an entrepreneurship in the school she attends.

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Event at Andrea’s school – unit of female police officers giving a show, dancing and singing they raise awareness among schoolchildren on how to prevent abuse in adolescent relationships.