International Literacy Day aims to give children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education.
Today ChildHope would like to shine the spotlight on children living in rural villages in Peru and an exciting new project starting this year with our local partner Amhauta.
Worldwide, approximately 775 million people are illiterate, of which 64% are women. People without basic reading and writing skills have limited opportunities for employment or income generation and suffer higher chances of poor health. Children are particularly vulnerable, with additional factors like poverty and violence leading them to a life working on the streets and being exploited, often sexually, all of which further distances them from re-entering school.
Many communities identify education as a key priority, however the reality of accessing a good education can be difficult. In rural Peru, the remote location of schools, ingrained discrimination toward Quechuan populations and low pupil numbers mean that children have become invisible and their achievements are well below provincial averages (only 5.8% achieve satisfactory levels in maths and literacy). Many schools only have one teacher, essential educational materials rarely reach the neediest and although most children only speak Quechua, classes are taught in Spanish leaving them confused and unable to learn. Families also struggle to meet the costs of books and uniforms, meaning their children have to find work to help their family survive.
For 20 years Amhauta have been working closely with local communities to uphold the rights of marginalised and remote groups who are often forgotten and neglected. Their current project, Quality and Equality in Education in Peru, is based in 12 primary schools in the province of Paucatambo (two hours from Cusco) and aims to improve primary education for 270 hard to reach Quechuan children living in these isolated communities.
The project seeks to address challenges to education by increasing both the quality and quantity of teacher training, building the capacity of local communities to monitor educational standards and advocating for improved services and increased investment. The approach includes:
- Children's weekly compensatory education classes to address learning gaps and help school achievements;
- Training and mentoring for teachers;
- Creation of Quechua-language education materials for classroom use;
- Micro-credits and training for parents to enable them to start small businesses.
By the end of the 3-year project, ChildHope and Amhauta aim to see a more inclusive and higher standard of teaching for Quechuan children in remote schools, with better income generation capacity for the poorest families. With increased family income, children will be able to remain in school and be fed and well cared for, which should in turn contribute to a visible improvement in children's' grades and fewer drop-outs.