May 31st 2020
“We have great courage and the desire to accompany families…”
As you read in the last Cusco-Express, Peruvian homes have been confined since March 16. While here in Europe, we finally breathe, the South American continent becomes the new epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Peruvian government recently extended the lockdown until 30 June and schools could remain closed until 2021.
Faced with this situation, the educational team of Las Hormiguitas adapts and invests with a lot of energy and ingenuity to encourage kindergarten children and their families. Marlene Quispe Barientos, director of the social centre, identifies three priorities: maintaining the link with children through educational continuity, supporting families affected by the confinement and with a critical economic situation, and food security for the most vulnerable families. This is a difficult challenge for the teaching team, but it is part of the educational and social mission of the Huchuy Yachaq centre and its “raison d’être”.
Le maintien du lien avec les enfants via la continuité pédagogique
On March 2, 2020, 58 children aged from 3 to 5 came back to school to Las Hormiguitas. Diana, Margoth and Raquel respectively teachers of the classes Rijchary, Inti Ñan, and Atipamuy welcomed them. Children were just starting to feel confident with their teacher and classmates when the lockdown came into effect…
Since March 16, the confined teaching team continued its educational and social commitment. We now know that 16% of families have joined their native community in rural areas to avoid falling into poverty, that the centre remains without news of 5% of them and that 88% of children follow the educational program offered by the teachers. Almost all families have no access to Internet.
The program consists of:
- Provide children with educational and playful books and tools to realise the activities at home.
- Send videos sharing experiences, handwork, psychomotor exercises, texts, poetry and stories via.
- Make home visits for a personalised follow up for the children and their families.
Support for families
The team’s home visits are an opportunity to encourage the involvement of parents but also to understand the realities and weaknesses of families, which are hampered by a very high economic precariousness. The situation has deteriorated since the confinement. As in France, there is a sharp increase in domestic violence and abuse. The support provided by professionals allows us to follow the mental state of families, to respond to their concerns and worries and to transmit them strength and courage.
Food security for the most vulnerable families
A third of the families sending their children to the centre is particularly affected by the stop of economic activities. More than a quarter are hungry. From the start, Marlene and her colleagues were mobilized by launching a kitty with friends and volunteers of the Huchuy Yachaq association to help the most affected families.
The money collected and a part of the allocation from Los Chicos de Cusco which was intended for the canteen, made it possible to make baskets with basic food products: rice, sugar, oatmeal, condensed milk, tuna cans , eggs, oil, lentils. The extension of confinement until the end of June and the interruption of tourist activities in Cusco will worsen the situation of the most vulnerable families for many months to come. A large part of Los Chicos’ budget allocated to Huchuy Yachaq at the beginning of the year finances the teachers’ salaries. Part of the budget allocated to the canteen and various workshops that will not take place this year will be dedicated to food aid
for the families of Huchuy Yachaq.
Class sponsorship will also contribute to providing support to the families who use the social centre and we sincerely thank you for your support during this critical period, when solidarity on an international scale is more essential than ever. Click here to sponsor a class.
“We have great courage and the desire to accompany families … we will do our best and with you we know that we are not alone.” Marlene Quispe Barrientos, director of the Huchuy Yachaq social centre.