Luz is 5 years old and is one of the new children who come to the project every day since this year. She is one of the youngest children in the project and sits together at the table with an age companion. A nice duo to work with, but they are distracting masters! So, every moment of full concentration is a nice victory of the day. It soon became clear that a number of things are very difficult for Luz and that she has a harder time than most five-year-olds with certain learning areas.
Luz is just like the other children from a very poor and traditional family from the neighborhood. Most families of the project come from a remote mountain village or Quechua community and came to live in San Jeronimo with the hope of a better future. Many of these families suffer from extreme poverty and the level of illiteracy is very high. Also, the parents of Luz, looking for better economic opportunities and better living conditions for their family, migrated to Cusco some years ago and left their further family, their home and the few animals that they had left behind. In their village, they spoke Quechua, the old language spoken in the Andes besides Spanish. Because of the enormous poverty that the family faces in San Jeronimo, the parents of Luz can hardly be there for their children and assisting Luz in her development. Because they aren’t educated and only speak Quechua, the parents can’t help Luz with her schoolwork, since the education in Cusco is entirely in Spanish. Luz also has to deal with malnutrition since her childhood, which has also influenced her development. In the project, we immediately saw that Luz was very behind in her development. Because of the lack of stimulation at home and because she didn’t go to kindergarten, Luz has a hard time learning new things. She didn’t even know the colors; her motor skills were very bad, and she couldn’t even count to 5.
That is why we try to guide Luz extra in the project and we stimulate her motor, cognitive and social skills. One of the supervisors, intern Nina, tells how beautiful it is to gradually see her inquisitiveness and gradually see her blossom. “My enthusiasm was great when Luz spontaneously started to mention all sorts of figures during a cutting exercise. I looked at her with admiration when she didn’t just guess what color something had, but with some shame also dared to say that she didn’t know the name. She had a proud look when she tried to jump rope again and this time she jumped over the rope. And she began to clap spontaneously this week when she saw how in her workbook she could draw the lines very straight. While drawing and tinkering, she lets her imagination run free and makes beautiful things!”
Meanwhile, Luz has learned a lot of new things. She now regularly goes to kindergarten and comes every day with a broad smile to the project to tell about everything she learned and to practice even more! Her mother also enthusiastically participates in the various parent activities and we are happy that together we can move towards a better future for Luz in this way.