Cajamarca is a city trying to keep up with a rapidly expanding population. More than 65% of its residents live in poverty and face environmental and health hazards daily.
SOS Children's Villages is working with vulnerable children and their families to provide support and to promote education as a tool for breaking the cycle of poverty and brightening the futures of Cajamarca’s children.
Infrastructure not in place
Cajamarca is a city of nearly 300,000 inhabitants located in the northern highlands of Peru, approximately 800 kilometres from Lima. The city is located in an area with a mild, dry climate and fertile soil, and primary industries include the production of cheeses and dairy products, as well as mining. Cajamarca hosts Carnaval festivities at the beginning of Lent each year, attracting many visitors to the city. Visitors also enjoy the city’s churches and local hot springs.
Poverty levels are extremely high in Cajamarca and its surrounds, and more than half the population is living in conditions of hardship. Many families live in substandard housing, occupying only one room.
Rapid population increases and local mining activity have adversely affected the area’s natural environment, polluting rivers and causing ill health among residents. A serious mercury spill in 2001 continues to impact the health of many individuals.
A way out of poverty for the next generation
SOS Children's Villages established its presence in Cajamarca in response to a rapidly growing population struggling to break the cycle of poverty. Education, vocational training and improved social service networks are urgently needed to improve the quality of life of the city’s residents, and to brighten the futures of its children.
It is estimated that less than a quarter of the population has completed primary education, and 13% of Cajamarca’s residents are illiterate. Men tend to work in manual labour positions – mining or bricklaying – or in less physically hazardous occupations, such as driving or street vending. Women traditionally stay at home to raise the family, and today fewer than 30% of mothers in the city are employed. Women take on domestic work in homes or laundries, or work as street vendors. Wages are low, and even the combined wages of two working adults is insufficient for covering basic necessities.
How do we help children in Cajamarca?
SOS Children's Villages began working in Cajamarca in 2010, with a focus on supporting children under the age of six who had lost, or were at risk of losing, parental care.
The SOS Social Centre’s family strengthening programme provides families with the assistance they need to stay together as a family unit – basic services including health and nutrition, psychological support and education.
The centre also provides training for parents to help them cope with various areas of family life, including self-esteem and preventing family violence. We offer a childcare service, allowing parents to go out to work, knowing that their children are in a safe and happy environment.
Children in Cajamarca who are no longer able to live with their parents can find a stable and loving home with one of eight SOS families at our Village. The SOS families can accommodate over 70 children, who grow up alongside their SOS brothers and sisters under the care of a loving SOS mother.
Sponsor a child in Cajamarca, and give them a supportive start in life. With your help, children in Peru are given hope for their future.