‘Palenque Infantil’ with AfroPeruvian children
Before the abolition of slavery in 1854 in Peru, palenques were areas where escaped slaves and Peruvians of African descent created communities of solidarity and resistance against oppression and intolerance. Today in the outskirts of Lima, Palenques Infantiles are safe spaces created and run by Afro-Peruvian children in solidarity and friendship where they reflect on what is going on in their lives and take action to make life better for themselves, other children, and their families.
The situation for AfroPeruvian children is difficult. In 2013, a study conducted in conjunction with UNICEF by Centro de Desarrollo Étnico – CEDET (Center for Ethnic Development) concluded that AfroPeruvian children and youth face continued discrimination and suppression of their ethnic identity. This inevitably impacts negatively on their wellbeing. The widespread prejudice and discrimination they experience, in conjunction with other issues such as poor access to good quality health, education and social services, means that 38% of AfroPeruvians live in poverty.
Palenques Infantiles is led by CEDET and funded by Bernard Van Leer. Its goal is to encourage the AfroPeruvian children to organise so that they can analyse their situation, recognise their rights, and have their voices heard by society and the Child to Child Step Approach is being used as a key strategy.
- Developing the capacity of CEDET employees so that they better understand child rights and can use the Child to Child Step Approach as a programme strategy to ensure children’s voices are heard and that children are able to participate in issues that affect them
- Developing the capacity of CEDET employees to be trainers in the Child to Child Step Approach so that it can be shared more widely within the organisation
- Developing the capacity of CEDET employees to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework which uses both qualitative and quantitative techniques
What have we achieved
- The children are learning about their ethnic heritage and are becoming more proud of their heritage. They have revived a traditional African custom of greeting each other with a physical sign of affection by giving each other a hug when arriving at the palenque. They also performed a traditional African dance using masks that they created.
- The participants in the project have designed and created new materials and activities based on the Child to Child approach but reflecting the reality of AfroPeruvians.
- The children have developed a positive image as “palenqueros” and people in the neighbourhood provide ‘in-kind’ support providing free meeting space, chairs, tables, and craft supplies.
- The children celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are learning about how these rights apply to their daily lives and how to speak up for their rights.