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Working children and teenagers

We call NATs all those minors that choose to work in order to help their families, to afford going to school, and to sustain themselves.

To those children, working has become an efficient way to solve the daily survival situations while developing their personal and social capabilities. In the province of Huamachuco about 35.000 children are toiling in economic activities carried out in a full time basis during the day or night, mainly as vendors on the streets or markets, as shoe-shiners, as employees in restaurants, and/or in private houses providing domestic services.

Some of their activities are not taken into account, because of their non-economic nature such as helping their parents with farm working or housekeeping in their own homes, in order to enable their parents or guardians to go work.

Although working is NAT’s own choice, we must keep in mind the difficulties and anxiety caused by their situation, and the risks they may face when working under hazardous and inappropriate conditions in jobs which at the end, won’t even provide a stimulation for proper physical and mental development. Many of these children endure lives of total deprivation.

“Marcelino Pan y Vino” allows working children and teenagers to be aware of their rights and skills. By confronting themselves to other NATs and solving problems and difficult situations, they learn to live with discipline, organization, and common responsibility. They also learn to deal with exploitation and hazards, and begin to approach working in a different way, understanding it can provide not only a daily income, but also a sense of worthiness and dignity.

There are rooms inside the house of Marcelino Pan y Vino where NATs can work in a safe environment during a decent schedule suited to their age, where they learn craft working so their products may be sold at local fairs and trade markets at Huamachuco.