Peru Monitoring visit May 24 – 27th 2016
with Bruce Parkin and Ana Tere owners and Directors of ASK schools in Peru, Ecuador and Columbia.
Action for Street Kids supports four schools run by the NGO Bruce Peru. We support two schools in Trujillo, Peru, (one in the east of the city and one the north east); one school in Guayaquil, Ecuador and one in Bogata, Columbia. The latter two were set up with funding from ASK and practical support from Bruce Peru but are now autonomous. Both continue to send reports on a regular basis of their work.
ASK provides approximately one third of the funding required to run the schools with Bruce and Ana Tere funding from their income, via their Foundation, two thirds. ASK is the only external funder. As a result it means we play a significant role in the continuation of the schools, particularly in Peru, but not so large that should our funding ever stop they would cease to exist in some form.
The two schools ASK supports are based in areas which are the poorest areas in the city. People who live in these areas are squatters on land which isn’t their own but are allowed to live their by the local government. Families typically live in homes that are made of poles with large bags for covering which are neither windproof or waterproof. There are standpipes where people can collect water and electricity. Homes and possessions are simply washed away during heavy rains.
An estimated 150,000 people live in the two areas the schools are based in. Both schools are on the edge of these areas. Children under 16 make up around half, 75,000, of the population. Families typically survive on £1 per day earning money from a wide range of activities with many children forced to work to provide income. Most families are single parents with the mother bringing up the children.
ASK schools are part of the informal school system Bruce Peru have set up with the Government to help children from the poorest of backgrounds to get into state school or provide a basic education to those who cant.
An estimated 25% of children from these areas did not attend school but a key role Bruce Peru has played over the past 20 years is to work with the the local community and government to register as many children as possible. It is now estimated that around 10% are not registered and do not go to state school. In effect Bruce Peru is working with the 10% of poorest and socially deprived children. The majority of them have experienced abusive backgrounds, have learning difficultites/mental health issues as well as a wide range of other illnesses.
Because of their home lives these children fall further and further behind the level required by the state education system and so state schools will not take them. The ASK schools are the only schools in the areas for children who are now excluded from state school. They have no other opportunity for education. ASK schools offer remedial education and help some back into the state system and for those who will never be able to go back to school, they provide children with basic reading, writing and maths and a certificate recognised by the government, which can be shown to employers based on their achievements.
As well as providing children with education and food, the school supports the local community, with help and advocacy where issues affect children. The social worker undertakes outreach with families building relationships and helping to ensure that mothers and children get whatever help they are entitled to. Workshops are run for mothers to help them earn money. Workshops include cookery, making craft gifts, jewellery, mats, bags, beads etc. Items the they can make in their own home.
School activities and staffing
In each of the four schools, 20-30 children attend each day on average. The schools in Peru have piped water and showers so that children can wash.
Days activities start at 8.30 with a breakfast of porridge, piece of fruit, bread and jam and a drink of water. After breakfast classes start. Children are split into age range of 6 – 9, 10 – 12, 12 plus.). Daily lessons are based on reading, writing, and maths. Lessons mirror the state school curriculum so that those children who are able can catch up with their studies and then go to a state school. Outings take place to places of interest outside of Trujillo.
Staffing in the ASK schools consists of one teacher plus volunteers who provide the lessons; a social worker whose role is to talk to children, understand their lives, particularly home life, provide emotional support, register children with the school authorities and undertake home visits to children’s home. Across all the schools is a project manager who oversees the work of the schools, a psychologist who provides counselling for children and an advocate who works with children, their families and the local authorities to ensure they get the help they are entitled to and need.
Each child gets a certificate that shows the grades they have achieved in line with the state education system. This certificate is recognized by the Government and for those who do not go back to school but pursue vocational training they have something formal to show their achievements while they have been at the ASK school.
The majority of children who attend have some form if illness. This includes diseases such as hepatitis B, syphilis, respiratory problems, TB, deafness, blindness. An estimated 10% have HIV, who as a result have multiple illnesses and for most without medical help would be terminal. Children also suffer from a range of mental health issues largely as a result of their lives and lifestyles.
One of the important aspects of the work of the schools is to provide children with medical care. Through the social worker and project manager contacts with medical clinics, health care professionals and dentists are maintained. All children in the school are given checkup’s at the local clinic.
Children with more serious and long term illnesses and injuries are supported to get the health care they need. Most children have cuts and bruises, headaches, and often more serious injuries such as broken bones. Treatment, in most cases, is paid for by the Bruce Peru Foundation. This is over and above the money they put in for running the schools.
On an annual basis medical care can cost up to £5,000 a year, an average of £50 per child per year.
Cases such as Pedro who is now virtually blind and will need long term support is very costly. (The school fees to get him into the blind school are over £1,500 per year).
The school in Guayaquil were set up and run on the same lines as those in Peru. Background of children and all other circumstances are the same or similar.
Children who attend the school come from poor Barrio’s where violence, drug taking and drug gangs dominate. The number of children who attend are around 25 – 30. Target children are those who aren’t in school, who come from the poorest families and most abusive backgrounds. The aim is to help them with remedial education to a level that they can join the formal state school system. For those who do not achieve this, it is to provide a basic level of reading, writing and maths, that will give them a chance to get work.
Children receive daily food, social and emotional support and medical care. All things that if they did not come they would not have.
Staffing includes school manager, two teachers, community leader (who lives in the local community and offers peer to peer support to local families).
The ASK school in Ecuador is now autonomous with the Bruce Peru Foundation staying in touch through reports.
The school in Columbia is in Bogata. 40 children come per day.
The school since it was set up has now been recognised and is part of the state system.
What was clear from the visit is that the children the ASK schools are helping are the most marginalized. They are children who are from the poorest, dysfunctional and abusive homes, are outside the state school system. Without intervention most of these children are likely to end up working and living on the streets.
What the project does is provide is remedial education, with community and family support that enables some of the children to enter the state school system. For the others each child is helped to have the basics of reading, writing and maths. Each gets a certificate of achievement (recognized by the Government) that can be shown to employers.
The other aspect that has not come across to me from the reports and visits that have been undertaken is the level of illness and disease children have who attend the school.
The ASK schools in effect are health care centres as well. Basic health care is costed into budgets but events beyond this such as long term care for disabled children or children like Pedro who is now almost blind is paid for by Bruce Peru Foundation over and above normal running costs.
What is clear (and is very similar to the Better Life project in Cairo) is that these schools provide the only hope children from these backgrounds have.
Visit to Peru
ASK Alta Trujillo school of Bruce Peru. Catch up with the latest on Face Book using this link http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/ASK-Trujillo-Peru/113014258747129
You can also see more pictures at Bruce org an organization sponsored by ASK.
ASK and Bruce Peru latest updates on working together include the opening of the Community Library/Literacy Centre – to operate in the afternoons. To find out more use the link below:
ASK and Bruce Peru latest updates find out more by clicking on the link
ASK Latin American Affiliates
Bruce Peru Organisation: ASK School, Trujillo Monitoring Visit, April 2012.
By Geoff Anderson
Click hear to download a pdf that gives an overview of the visit.
Bruce Organisation NGO
ASK recently agreed to begin funding a project in Peru. The focus of the project, which is being run by the Bruce NGO (non governmental organisation), is on helping child laborers who are working in disadvantaged urban communities, to return to school. Often the child will be living permantly in the streets and will have no contact with his/her parents. Sometimes the child is living at home, with just his/her mother, but working in the streets during the day. Project staff ain where possible to meet with the child’s parents, and with both their consent and that of the child, begin the education and rehabilitation process. In the first instance the child is invited to attend the non -formal school being run by Bruce NGO: this allows him/her to catch up on the work missed whilst on the streets. Once the child has the educational level to allow hi/her to reintegrate the formal school system, Bruce NGO provide him/her with school uniforms and pay his.her registration fees.
Children outside a school in Lima run by Bruce NGO
However, the essential support provided by Bruce NGO staff does not end there. Staff continue to monitor the children once they have returned to school, through the monthly Bruce Meeting Club. Here, children meet with staff, probelsm are discussed and educational games are played, giving the children the opportunity to show off what they have learned at school. The children are rewarded for their achievements in a small celebratory gathering, where local clowns or musicians are invited to entertain them. Material needs are also addressed at the meeting, and clothes are distributed among the children and they are given a meal.
First Dental Elective of 2011