Yesterday I visited Alma’s partner project– El Manguare in the jungle region of Peru.
El Manguare provides early childhood stimulation and first-grade preparation classes to children from the neighbourhood of Belen in Iquitos – one of the most economically impoverished neighbourhoods in Peru.
In the visit I quickly learned that the living conditions are extremely challenging here. During the rainy season, the entire community floods above the stilts holding their homes. There is no waste management system, so waste fills the street and the river. The level of poverty is so great, that families struggle to provide the basic necessities for their children. Despite these hardships, the community members amazed me with their positivity and resilience.
Yol (the program director of El Manguare) told me that one of the greatest challenges that families in this community face is a lack of schools, teachers and quality education.
Statistically, 97% of the children attend school but when you visit the actual community, you know this statistic cannot be true. So why the discrepancy?
It comes down to something quite simple; birth identifications cost 50 soles (just under CD$20), and without this ID children cannot enroll in school. Families in this region on a good day can earn 20 soles. However, this income is not guaranteed. To put that in perspective, the cost of a chicken is 22 soles. Thus, families are forced to choose between feeding their children or purchasing an ID. Inevitably, they choose food, leaving children without access to education.
Fortunately, Yol continues to dedicate her time to fixing this problem. El Manguare helps families get their children ID and has even made an agreement to get these children health insurance while their IDs are getting processed.
Thanks to all of the Alma supporters and volunteers, we can help the children attending El Manguare overcome the odds. Together we can work to ensure each child can get access to education. We can collaborate to build a better future for their community and we can make sure that no child is left behind.
Above: Yol (Program Director at El Manguare), Raquel (Program Coordinator at Alma), Ian (Program Director at Alma)