Volunteering Pueblo Joven
Volunteer program in a poor neighborhood in Cusco
Volunteering in Pueblo Joven Manco Capac CuscoLets walk together – the program in Pueblo Joven Manco Capac, Cusco
Volunteering in Cusco in Pueblo Joven Manco Capac. Manco Capac is one of the poorest neighborhoods of Cusco. It takes only 10 minutes by taxi or 30 minutes walking from Cusco’s main square to get there. But the difference between the city center of Cusco and the Manco Capac neighborhood is very big.
Most of the people who are living in this marginalized zone of Cusco, recently moved from the Peruvian countryside. They hope to find a better future for their family in the city of Cusco. For them it is a move from one world, to a completely different one. The countryside is still a very traditional environment. The people still live in many ways like their ancestors and speak another language (Quechua).
So from the countryside they move to the city of Cusco. Perceptions, ideas and customs of those immigrants are different. They lack a good education and even the capacity to explain themselves well in Spanish. Many times they illegally occupy a piece of land. Sometimes they live on steep mountain slopes near (or on) dumping-grounds. Birth control doesn’t exist, so in general the families are quite large. But those families don’t have a steady income. People might work as street sellers, as collectors of garbage (for recycling) and the men maybe on and off in construction work.
Their living conditions and economic situation are bad. Besides that, the idea of “machismo” – the man being in control of women – still exists. Together with a near-desperate situation it can lead to domestic problems such as alcoholism, violence and abuse. Women feel that they only get respect if they have a husband. So even in very difficult situations they will rather stay with their men than leaving them. In this violent non-stimulating situation, many kids grow up in Cusco. They might suffer from malnutrition as well, which is leading to serious problems in school.
Many social programs try to intervene – some more successful than others. The less structured programs “only” focus on the children. They help them with their homework, play with them, give them a bit of warmth and friendship which they deserve, but don’t receive at home. More structured programs like Puririsun also provide secondary education. But also help during the job search and intervene in cases of social abuses. They have a program to improve the self-esteem, health and community sense of the children.