This project focuses on ensuring that street connected children are attending school regularly and that they are receiving the support needed to enable good educational progress. The project also provides vocational training to young people as well as micro enterprise loans to enable young people to start their own businesses. Child protection is at the heart of this project, which partners with local authorities to establish a functioning and effective child protection system and local child protection committees.
Santa Faz is an economically deprived area within Guatemala City, categorised as a red-zone by the Guatemalan government, it is one of the most dangerous areas in the country. Most of the population of Santa Faz come from socially excluded and marginalised families, with low levels of formal education, scarce income generating opportunities and a lack of access to basic services.Only 20% of the adult population are employed in the formal economy, the majority are unemployed or gain their livelihoods as street vendors. This means that they are out for over 12 hours a day and either take their children to work with them or leave them at home unsupervised. Many children in Santa Faz have not been able to attend school before, either because they have had to work to support their families or through lack of the correct legal documentation required to enrol. For children who do have the opportunity to attend school, many find it difficult to adjust to standard school curriculum and discipline, and as a result, fall behind or drop out altogether. This lack of progress pushes children out onto the street, where their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse is drastically increased (UNESCO, 2015) and all too often, lured by the safety and security they seem to offer and the possibility of earning an income, they join gangs in order to survive.
The project aims to confront the root causes of street migration; abuse and neglect in the home, lack of educational opportunity and the need for economic survival, in order to reduce the number of street and working children in the community by 60%.