The department of Puno has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in Peru: 17% mostly in rural areas and among women. Child labor is an issue in the city of Puno –over 6,000 children have been forced into informal labor linked to the brick, transportation, mining, handicrafts, and tourism industries. To earn income, children work on the streets as shoe shiners, candy sellers, etc. As early as age 10, many girls migrate to Puno to work as domestic workers because they have been forced by their parents, need to earn money, are escaping family violence, or believe they will have access to better education. Young people living in poverty face numerous challenges in Puno. While many attend night school, they receive few hours of schooling and of substandard quality. Many are “not allowed” to attend school by employers, have no space or time for recreation, and endure long, exhausting days of work. Others face physical and psychological abuse by employers, including many cases of female domestic workers being sexual harassed and abused by household heads or sons of these.
In 1992, Vittoria Savio, an Italian volunteer who had spent much time in Peru, became interested in the problems of domestic workers. She opened her home in Cusco to girls who were battered and/or escaping from homes where they were abused. Vittoria, with Ronald Zárate and Josefina Condori, formed a legal NGO in 2001. Yana’s reference center in Cusco provides transitional housing for girl domestic workers as well as medical, psychological, legal support and education. Yana ensures girls’ attendance at school and helps them find work with adequate pay and where they are treated with dignity. The organization has grown and today provides 5 pillar programs: Transitional housing for girl domestic workers; Communities (with Houses of Cultures in various rural communities); Education; Communications; and Responsible Tourism. Yana’s achievements include: having improved the future prospects of youth workers; a successful radio program in Cusco (ranked second regionally) and a radio and TV program in Puno, produced by youth workers; a 35% reduction in rural-urban migration by children in the communities where Yana works, education of youth workers through their night schools, and the ability to cover 35% of program costs through its hostel and tourism program.
EMpower’s 4th grant to Yana supports youth workers (domestic, mining, and other) through education, psychological support, and vocational and technical training at Yana’s House of Culture, Puno’s night schools, and in collaboration with other grassroots organizations. It also supports Yana’s radio program as a tool for reaching additional youth, parents, teachers, and government authorities with information and for advocacy.
Primary Location: Cusco
Funded Since: 2013
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.