Warmi Huasi Marks 20 Years of Service to Peru’s Youth

Feb 9, 2024

Warmi Huasi, the NGO founded by Columban missionaries in Peru, has published its annual report highlighting its work for 2023 and marking 20 years of service to vulnerable Peruvian children and adolescents.

This project empowered communities North of Lima in the Districts of Carabayllo and San Martin de Porres and in Ayacucho (Province of Páucar del Sara Sara).

This included helping them with protection rights, participation in healthy environments, education and looking after the health of children and adolescents.

Statistics in the 2023 annual report show:

Direct Beneficiaries Male Direct Beneficiaries Female Direct Beneficiaries Total Indirect Beneficiaries Male Indirect Beneficiaries Female Indirect Beneficiaries Total
7251 7545 14,796 303209 293700 596909

According to Columban missionary, Fr Ed O’Connell, who continues to be involved in Warmi Huasi despite retiring to Britain last year, “2023 saw the Warmi Huasi team achieve outstanding results.”

“Warmi Huasi celebrated 20 years of service to one of the most vulnerable sectors of Peruvian society, the children and adolescents (C&As) at risk in the townships on the northern side of Lima and in the towns and villages of the Province of Paucar del Sara Sara up in the High Andes Department of Ayacucho, Peru.”

“After the pandemic years, the work is now at full pace again with children and adolescents, their parents, community leaders, municipal officials and authorities, as well as Government sectors such as Education, Health, Women and Vulnerable People, the Judiciary and Police all involved.”

“Warmi Huasi has gained ground in getting the public sector authorities to fulfil their statutory roles. As well, parents and community leaders are exercising their rightful roles as citizens, by accompanying the C&As in their activities and themselves holding the authorities to account.”

“All of this was possible because of the formation and accompaniment received by the children and adolescents from the Warmi Huasi team. This has enabled the young people to develop their potentials as individuals and as youth organisations.”

In 2023, Peru found itself in a political and social crisis. The impact of the pandemic on the economy and life of families had not been overcome and then came the failed self-coup of President Pedro Castillo and subsequent takeover by the Vice President Dina Boluarte.

This social and political instability has had a direct impact on the increase in the price of products in the basic family basket, which has generated a lot of uncertainty about the economic reactivation and the management of national policy to improve living conditions in the country.

Another change in the context was the appointment of new officials in local governments (Municipal Elections were in November 2022 and the new mayor began in January 2023).

Also in the Education sector (between 2022 and 2023 there were 5 Ministers of Education), which meant explaining from scratch the objectives of the project and the strategies to achieve them, as each Minister brought changes in staffing at all levels.

The annual report shows that thanks to Warmi Huasi, adolescents from three organisations designed and implemented a project autonomously, they took the following steps:

  • Form as a “coalition of organisations”
  • They made a diagnosis of the situation in their community regarding the impact of climate change and Covid and how that relates to their mental health
  • They developed a proposal to improve public spaces and show how this helps mental health, with resilience activities with the aim of reducing the vulnerability present in the communities
  • This proposal was submitted to a funding contest promoted by CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development of the Bishops of England and Wales)
  • The proposal scored well and was selected for funding
  • The adolescents implemented the proposal and managed the funds, providing accountability of the process and finances
  • The proposal consisted of three actions:
  1. a) Recovery of a park.
  2. b) Improvements to an organic garden.
  3. c) Preparation of a story about climate change and mental health.

As part of the experience, the adolescents from the youth organizations designed actions for the sustainability of their project, such as, for example: the sale of products from the organic gardens; sale of the book with the story they created.

From this experience, we consider it is a special achievement as the leadership of the adolescents of the participating organizations has been strengthened; they have strengthened their capacities to apply for funds to implement their citizen initiatives.

In both Carabayllo and Ayacucho, experiences such as the one mentioned above show us the progression of C&As organizations: from passive participation to active participation; developing proposals based on the problems of C&As in their community, district and/or province.

Municipal Pre-university Academy (Province of Páucar del Sara Sara, Ayacucho)

For adolescents in the Province of Páucar del Sara Sara, there are several problems, especially when about to finish high school:

  • There are almost no higher level educational institutions such as universities or institutes (although in Pausa, which is the capital, there is one, but of a very low level). For this reason, they have to migrate to other cities on the coast.
  • The educational level in secondary school is very low in their locality, so they would have to pay for an academy outside the Province.
  • Students cannot dedicate themselves to studying because they have to work or take care of their younger siblings.

In response to these problems Warmi Huasi formed a Study Group in 2019, attended by approximately 20 students from the districts of Lampa and Marcabamba. The experience was so positive that in 2023, through a cooperation agreement with the Provincial Municipality, the Municipal Pre-university Academy was formed, with twenty-five 4th and 5th year high school students enrolled (15 female and 10 male), from different districts such as: Pausa, Lampa and Sara Sara.

There was no registration cost and classes were given in mathematical reasoning, verbal reasoning, arithmetic and psychological-vocational guidance.

They were taught topics at the same academy level as in the city of Lima, as well as given vocational and psychological guidance by a psychology professional.

Read Warmi Huasi’s full report for 2023 here: WARMI HUASI PROJECT REPORT 2023

Support the work of Warmi Huasi by donating online here: https://columbans.ie/donate/

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