Juliaca, a city of 300,000, enjoys relative prosperity that has alleviated some of the poverty that is rife in the Puno region, Peru’s second poorest area. However, not all residents have benefited and children are often sent out to work to help support the family, or because parents believe they will have a better life working for a wealthy family.
SOS Children's Villages is working with vulnerable children and their families to change attitudes about child labour and promote education among children.
Juliaca’s fortunes are improving, but not all residents have benefited
Juliaca is located 3,825m above sea level in southeast Peru, nearly 1,300 kilometres from Lima. It is home to almost 300,000 people and is the largest trade and financial centre in the Puno region. Juliaca’s primary industry is goods and services and in recent years it has also become a centre for capital investment, which has helped to reduce poverty levels in the city.
The city is home to the popular Juliaca Carnival, which is held each year in February and March and showcases colourful costumes and traditional dancing.
The Puno region is the second poorest in the country. In spite of increased capital investment in the city, a large proportion of residents have not benefited and 42% of Juliaca’s people continue to live in poverty. It is estimated that 10,000 households live in extreme poverty, without food security, access to running water, sanitation or basic services such as health care. Around 85% of children in these households are unable to attend school, usually because they are working to help support the family.
Challenging attitudes to child labour and education
Child labour is a serious and widespread problem in Peru, in spite of government efforts to eradicate the practice. In Juliaca, it is commonplace to see advertisements for domestic work for children or adolescents.
It is accepted that children should work to make a financial contribution to the family’s survival, and some parents believe they are providing a better future for their children by sending them to work for wealthier families. Children in this position are often sent to different cities where they are vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. Critically, by starting work at a young age, these children are robbed of the opportunity to complete their education.
It is vital that parents are supported and educated and that these traditional views are challenged if children are to break to the cycle of poverty and have a better future.
Our work in Juliaca
SOS Children's Villages began work in Juliaca in 2008, supporting vulnerable children and their families. The SOS Social Centre’s primary focus is its family strengthening programme. This works to reduce hardship and provide basic services to children under the age of five years, and mothers trying to support their children while living in extreme poverty.
The programme’s aim is to keep families together and more than 500 children and their families have benefited from the service.
The centre offers basic health and nutrition care and advice, clean drinking water and provides training to women to help them improve their financial situation. Parents also receive help as they prepare their children to start school.
Children's Village in Juliaca
Over 100 children who are no longer able to live with their parents are welcomed into one of 12 SOS families in Juliaca. Children grow up in a loving family environment, under the care of a dedicated SOS mother.
Young children in Juliaca are helped by child sponsors, who ensure they receive everything they need to flourish. Will you do something amazing, and sponsor a child in Peru?