Working with Young Indigenous Girls in Cusco


Rocio, 18, has spent 12 years of her life in an orphanage because her mother was/is incapable of raising her. She and her brothers were living alone in a small apartment in Cusco when they were noticed by neighbours who alerted the police. They were all put back into an orphanage but then later released by their mother. Since then Rocio has been earning $120/month working in a cafe where she also gets room and board, but is using the money to help support her three younger brothers. Recently the cafe closed so we are trying to get her into the girls’ apartment and help her find work. She has gone through our Centro Yanay training program so she has beautician skills.

I met 3 of the 4 Alma Alumni girls yesterday In Cusco. We took them to Yanapay a drop-in centre/school for marginalized children in a very poor part of Cusco. The Alma Foundation supported the creation of Yanapay several years ago. We are hoping to have them volunteer and also spoke with Yuri, the founder/president/teacher at Yanapay about employing Rocio and another girl, Lisbett, at his restaurant.

The volunteering would be a wonderful opportunity for the girls to mentor even younger, marginalized children and if Yuri could hire them we would know that they’d be paid appropriately and not abused as so many indigenous people are here. Yuri is warm and full of love and by the end of our meeting we had worked out a plan for them to volunteer and he offered Rocio and Lisbett part time jobs. For Rocio this is particularly important. Until she finds a full time position the part-time job at Yanapay will be a lifeline.