My name is Margarita, I am 9 years old and I live in Cajamarca, a city in the mountains of Peru. I live with my mother, my big sister (15 years) and my younger brother (6 years) in a small house. We can grow some vegetables in the garden. We also have two sheep, a piglet and the two dogs Shadow and Beethoven. My mother cannot read and write. Therefore, she cannot find a well-paid job. I work in a brickyard on weekends and after school to support my family.
For example, my Saturday looks like this:
I get up, get dressed, comb my hair thoroughly and wash myself. My mother made soup or pancakes for breakfast. I often have no breakfast on Thursday and Friday because I get lunch at school. The food for breakfast can be saved for the weekend.
I walk half an hour down a narrow path to the brick factory. In the brick factory I have already done almost all the work that is necessary to produce the bricks. Today I am stacking bricks in the kiln with my girlfriend. Each stone weighs more than 2 kilos and must be handed up or thrown up. This is very tiring and we have to be careful not to let the heavy stones fall on our feet. For half a day of work I get 5 soles (about 1.30 euros).
Today I go home for lunch because I take courses from IINCAP (Children’s Emergency Partner) in the afternoon. I often work until 5 or 6 p.m. on weekends.
My favorite course is math, but today I draw and discuss children’s rights. We speak that we shouldn’t be beaten, that we have the right to go to school, and that our opinion is important.
I’m home again. I help my mother in the garden, wash the dishes or feed the animals. I prefer to play with my little brother. My favorite game is hide and seek, but we siblings also love pushing each other around with the wheelbarrow.
There is dinner: rice with lentils. By the way, my favorite food is french fries with chicken.
I brush my teeth and go to sleep. Brrr, it got very cold – since the sun went down around 6 p.m., the temperature has dropped from over 20 degrees to a few degrees above 0 degrees.
A new life for Margarita
In 2012 Margarita had to work in a brick factory every day. Now she is attending school and is happy. Math is one of her favorite subjects, but she not only has the normal school subjects, but also learns, for example, what rights she has as a child. With support the Kindernothilfe Action! Kidz 200 former child laborers go to school in Cajamarca today. You get school uniforms, notebooks, pens – and with it the chance for a better future.
But more and more families are moving to Cajamarca – looking for work in Yanacocha, one of the largest gold mines in the world. But because gold is getting cheaper and cheaper, the miners earn whatever fewer. This is how many families are in need, and therefore their children also have to work.
That is why Kindernothilfe, together with its Peruvian partner organization IINCAP, started to train the parents of the boys and girls in starting small businesses and thereby earning more money. Because then their children no longer have to work and can go to school – like Margarita and the many other children from Cajamarca.
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