Quito's markets have a high incidence of working children. These children often work long hours with little opportunity for education or recreation. Children as young as 2 years old accompany their parents to work, their day beginning at 4am and stretching out with 10-12 hours of work ahead of them. The work can be hard and is monotonous The children face aggression, poverty, lack of education, abuse, neglect, discrimination, poor health and malnutrition all of which impede healthy development.
The project helps working children improve their quality of life both now and in the future. This means less time, if any, working & more time either in school or studying or undertaking other activities beneficial to their wellbeing and development. Social workers help families overcome barriers to healthy child development such as poor physical & mental health due to abuse and/or neglect, learning and behavioural difficulties & social problems. Children build self-esteem & a love of learning.
The street outreach is the important first stage of a process of supporting children through the education system: ensuring school enrolment, supporting academic achievement & preventing school desertion. In the long-term, these children will be able to get further education and training, which will allow them to secure employment, break the poverty cycle and lead a life of dignity.