Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Colour of Hope’s microcredit scheme helps families escape the poverty trap

Most of The Colour of Hope’s work with our project participants is conducted at the training centre. But occasionally we visit the participants where they are living or they take us to meet their families. This is an important element of the work because it enables us to get to know the young people better and see firsthand the backgrounds they are coming from.
Some of the participants live independently because there is either some reason why they cannot live with their families or because they are orphans and have nowhere else to go. Others live with friends or godparents and a few go back to their families.

Last weekend I visited Hugo and Natali’s home, as well as Natali’s sister, Angelica. They all live in
Canto Grande, a shanty town on the outskirts of Lima. Their living conditions are very primitive and sadly typical of most shanty town homes – no running water, no drainage, just one kerosene stove between them all and both
families each struggling to share a single bed.

Yet despite their desperate situation, both families hold their heads up high, proud of the little they’ve got and fighting against all odds to bring in enough money to feed their children. The support they are receiving from The Colour of Hope is helping to lift some of this weight from their shoulders, and our microcredit scheme will eventually help them to improve their living conditions and escape the poverty trap.

Hugo is working hard on the budget for his shop, as well as beginning to level the land where it will be built. This is by no means easy – it involves literally hacking into the mountainside to break up the rocks and boulders (see photo).

Angelica, who lives on the other side of the mountain, will probably be setting up a shop too, although she is not as far into her training as Hugo, so plans may change.

Natali is doing extremely well at her Wall textiles placement, despite her son Luis’s accident a few weeks ago, and her own ill health. Her supervisor and fellow workers say she has a real talent for the work.

Luis is still recovering well from the accident at his nursery and is looking much stronger thanks to the special diet and vitamin supplements funded by his parents’ sponsors, Jess and Rosa Batten-Stevens from Ottery St Mary.

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